(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – The Federation Internationale d’Escrime has announced that all FIE events in the next five weeks will be postponed due to the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) throughout countries around the world.
The decision comes following the declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic by the World Health Organization on Wednesday and a later announcement by U.S. government leaders that a 30-day ban on travel from the Schengen Zone of Europe to the United States will take effect beginning at 11:59 p.m. on Friday. This Zone includes: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
This postponement includes the following events:
Please Note: Zonal Qualifiers are the last-chance qualifying event for nations who have not qualified teams for the Tokyo Olympic Games. The United States has qualified all six squads for Tokyo as of March 7, 2020.
Full details regarding the rescheduling of competitions will be announced at a later date. Information regarding Olympic selection criteria will be made as schedules for the remainder of the season are finalized.
“We know that our elite athletes have trained for the opportunity to represent the United States at the Olympic Games not only for the last four years, but, in many cases, for most of their lives. The FIE is working hard to ensure that events are held at a later date; however, everyone is looking to make sure that the health of all athletes from around the world is put first,” said USA Fencing President Donald K. Anthony Jr. (Columbus, Ohio).
Salt Lake City was awarded the bid to host the 2020 Junior and Cadet World Championships at the 2017 FIE Congress. This year would mark the first time the event would be held in the United States since 2000 with more than 1,000 athletes from 100 nations scheduled to compete. Discussions are underway regarding the possibility of new dates for the nine-day tournament.
“We’ve worked in partnership with Visit Salt Lake, the Utah Sports Commission and our amazing local organizing committee for more than two years to bring the world’s best young fencers to Salt Lake City,” said Senior Director of Operations Christine Strong Simmons (Colorado Springs, Colo.) “While it is disappointing to not be able to host this amazing event, we look forward to the opportunity to partner with the FIE on the Championships in the future.”