Fri, 03 Apr 2020

Tokyo [Japan], Feb 17 (ANI): The organisers of the Tokyo Marathon 2020 have restricted the event for elite athletes, including wheelchair racers, as a preventive measure to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

"The Tokyo Marathon 2020 will be held only for marathon elites, and wheelchair elites," the organisers said in a statement.

Of the 38,000 who were scheduled to compete on March 1, those in the "general entry" category can no longer take part because of the virus outbreak in China and its spread to other countries, which has already affected a number of other sports events, Kyodo News reported.

The elite full marathon field includes 176 runners and 30 wheelchair athletes.

The Tokyo Marathon doubles as a qualifier for the 2020 Games, and runners will be chasing the final spot on the men's Olympic marathon team. Japan men's marathon record holder Suguru Osako and past national record holder Yuta Shitara are among invitees to the race's elite category.

The coronavirus emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December. The virus had killed more than 1,700 people in China and infected more than 70,000 people as of Monday.

Japan had its first coronavirus death last Thursday and as of Monday, more than 510 people had been confirmed in the country as infected, including 454 who had been quarantined on a cruise ship. (ANI)

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