The ongoing European Olympic Boxing qualifiers in London have been suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic, the IOC Boxing Task Force (BTF) said on Monday. The event got underway from Saturday and was to end on March 24. Also Read - CRPF Moves Ailing Man to Chandigarh After Airlifting Him From Rajouri

Amid the COVID-19, the qualifiers were moved behind closed doors  before being suspended. Also Read - Mamata Ropes in Abhijit Banerjee on COVID-19 Advisory Panel For West Bengal

“Since the preparation phase of the event, the BTF has been working in close cooperation with the Local Organising Committee (LOC) – the delivery body of the competition – as well as its stakeholders, its own medical experts and the national health authorities, to set up the necessary precautionary measures,” BTF said in a statement. Also Read - PM Modi Speaks to Bahrain King, Discusses COVID-19 Situation, Financial Markets

“The BTF eventually took the decision to suspend the event today, amid increasing global travel restrictions and quarantine measures, in order to allow the participants from over 60 countries to adjust their travel plans and return home,” it said.

The qualifying events in Americas and final world qualifiers to be held in May have also been cancelled.

“The BTF will continue to evaluate the situation daily, aiming to complete the distribution of the remaining Tokyo 2020 boxing quota places in May and June,” the statement read.

The LOC expressed its disappointment at the turn of events saying it’s ensuring accommodation and travels to ensure the participants can return home from UK.

“The LOC is extremely disappointed for all of the boxers, who have been training hard and were looking forward to competing in this event here in London and for all the staff and volunteers who have been working tirelessly to deliver an outstanding event,” a statement read.

It added, “The LOC is continuing to work closely with all the international teams and officials to assist with accommodation and travels to ensure they can return home from the UK.”

Despite growing opposition, Japan President Shinzo Abe has maintained the country will host Olympics as per schedule despite the coronavirus threat.