Olympic wrestling qualifier moves from China to Kyrgyzstan

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CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY, Switzerland (AP)The international governing body for wrestling has approved moving the Asian Olympic qualifier to Kyrgyzstan next month because of the coronavirus outbreak in China.

United World Wrestling announced Thursday that the tournament, originally to be held in Xi’an, would be March 27-29 in the city of Bishkek. Kyrgyzstan borders China to the west.

”We are glad to see that the Kyrgyzstan government and the Kyrgyzstan Wrestling Federation were able to step in as a suitable replacement for this important event,” UWW President Nenad Lalovic said. ”Moving an event this close to the competition date is not ideal, but we must consider the health of the athletes and ensure that everyone who wants to compete at the qualifiers has the opportunity.”

Chinese wrestlers eligible to compete have been routed to Serbia, where they are going through a quarantine process. They were evaluated by medical professionals in China before leaving and by local officials upon arrival in Serbia.

The Chinese wrestlers in Serbia will be provided workout equipment, wrestling mats and other items needed for training. The wrestlers will fly from Belgrade to Bishkek for the competition.

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