This is today's update on global events afffected by the coronavirus epidemic.

ATHENS (GRE): New Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou will attend the scaled down handover ceremony for the Tokyo 2020 flame which will be held behind closed doors at the Panathinaiko Stadium in Athens, informs insidethegames.biz. "The handover ceremony will take place in the presence of the President of the Hellenic Republic, Mrs. Katerina Sakellaropoulou, and of a small delegation of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee. There will be a dance of the priestesses that will not exceed the number of 10, and a Torch Relay of two Greek Torchbearers and two Japanese Torchbearers, that will take place inside the Panathenaic Stadium," said a statement from the Hellenic Olympic Committee.

LAUSANNE (SUI): The European Athletics Executive Board will host its previously scheduled meeting via teleconference on 24-25 March and top of the agenda will be discussions concerning the coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact on the various European Athletics events scheduled for 2020 and beyond. "The Executive Board will define a roadmap outlining key dates for making decisions concerning our forthcoming events and the longer-term athletics calendar. Perhaps the most pressing question for most federations is the status of this season's major European event, the Paris 2020 European Athletics Championships from 25-30 August. At this point we can say that preparations are going ahead as planned but we are monitoring developments on a day-to-day basis and must remain vigilant as the situation evolves," said European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen.

MELBOURNE (AUS): Renowned Australian coach Nic Bideau has opined the Olympic Games will be postponed, informs The Age Australia. "At the moment the situation is getting worse, not better [in the US and many countries in Europe] so those events will be unlikely to go ahead. The big countries won't have teams to send. I think they will end up having the Games pushed back 12 months rather than cancelled. The small sports need the Olympics for profile and money coming in, they can't survive without the Olympics, so I think they will push it back 12 months," he said.

MONACO (MON): "I'm worried about the national emergency and the lack of races but my mood remains good," said Davide Re, the national 400m record holder, who, instead of attending an overseas training camp, is currently in Rieti where he is today celebrating his 27th birthday. Restrictions have closed indoor training facilities, but as a national level athlete, he has been given permission to train on an outdoor track. Informs World Athletics. From Siena, high jumper Elena Vallortigara reports that for her, not too much has changed. "Last week I managed to train every day on rmy track except Tuesday, but I made up for that on a football pitch. If the facility remains open, it changes little, because I can jump and train on the track." Meanwhile, national 10,000m record holder Yeman Crippa continues his drive towards Tokyo from his home base in Trento. "The situation is more difficult and I have to be much more careful, and always have my self-declaration with me," he said, referring to a state-mandated document which allows him to leave his home.

PARIS (FRA): French runners Morhad Amdouni and Djilali Bedrani decided to return to France on Tuesday from training camp in Kenya. Informs L´Equipe. Due to coronavirus they decided to shorten their training camp in the Rift Valley.

BEIJING (CHN): After Gong Lijiao threw a world lead of 19.70m in Beijing indoors on Saturday, the Chinese Athletics Association has confirmed that other athletics meetings have been scheduled for April. From World Athletics.


LEVERKUSEN (GER): The Bayer Classic in Leverkusen on 9 May has been cancelled, informs Leichtathletik.de.

BIRMINGHAM (GBR): The England Area Road Relays on 21-22 March have been cancelled, informs Athletics Weekly.

BATH (GBR): The organisers of the Bath Half Marathon have faced widespread criticism for not cancelling or postponing Sunday's race due to the coronavirus, informs BBC News. Around 6200 runners took part, around half the usual total. Among those to criticise the decision to stage the race were local Member of Parliament Wera Hobhouse. "This is a public safety concern and I believe that cancelling the event to protect the most vulnerable in our city from a further spread of the infection must be the priority," she said.

DUNBLANE (GBR): Olympic 5000m finalist Andrew Butchart has undergone surgery. He wrote on Instagram: "I've had issues with my left Achilles/heel for a few months. Eventually became very painful to run and made the decision that surgery was the only option."

TOKYO (JPN): A poll has found that 69.9 per cent of Japanese people do not expect the Olympic and Paralympic Games to go ahead as currently planned this summer. The survey, conducted by telephone for Kyodo News yesterday and today, comes as organisers and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) continue to insist they are planning for the Games to go ahead despite the coronavirus pandemic grinding the sport calendar and indeed much of the world to a halt. Informs insidethegames.

CAPE TOWN (RSA): South Africa postponed all clubs, provincial activities and all athletics events in the country at all levels for 30 days, including all ASA championships: the ASA Twizza National U16 - U20 Track and Field Championships; the 2020 ASA Athletics Grand Prix Series; and the 3Sixty Life & Sizwe Medical ASA Senior T&F + Combined Events. ASA will then review and give more information after the 15 April on the way forward. Also cancelled was the open meet planned for Potchefstroom on March 17.

NEW ORLEANS (USA): The Allstate Sugar Bowl Crescent City Classic 10-K in New Orleans which was scheduled for Saturday, April 11, converted to an all-virtual event. "This unique experience will give our runners the opportunity to run/jog/walk a 10k course of their choice, get their official CCC10k swag, and be a part of something that promotes fun, health, fitness and friendly competition," said a statement on their website.

PITTSBURGH (USA): Dick's Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon, Half-Marathon and 5-K is still plannned from May 1 - 3, but acknowledge that it could be canceled at any time.

ITEN (KEN): All training camps in Iten, Kenya are closed. So many foreign runners from different countries are currently in Iten preparing for the #TokyoOlympics.

VILNIUS (LTU): Discus World champion Andrius Gudzius will not be able to travel to training camp in Spain and will remain at home to prepare for Olympic Games.

BELFAST (GBR): Belfast has become the latest big city marathon to postpone their 2020 event until later in the year due to the continuing spread of the coronavirus. Originally set for Sunday May 2nd, the Belfast organisers on Monday re-fixed the event for Sunday September 20th, with the 2020 Belfast half-marathon now postponed until Sunday February 28th, 2021.

ATHENS (GRE): Pole Vault Olympic winner Katerina Stefanidi in an interview with Mega TV said the Olympic officials should give a clear message what will happen and possibly not to try to stage the Games at any cost. "I think it creates more stress for the athletes. This idea that everything is working properly and everything is going to work out well. And here we're without training and competition.It's a lot of money, but I understand that doing the Olympic Games in the overcrowded Tokyo where we stay in one village on top of each other is not the best." On how to deal with coronavirus: "I think we need to understand that we are not on vacation. I understand that it is very difficult for some to stay home especially when they have a culture like ours that we are used to constantly being around the world. The right approach would be to consider that we all could have it and try not to go out and stick at home. " Writes sport24.gr.

WARSZAWA (POL): Polish federation PZLA informed that the CC Championships planned for March 21 will be now held on November 28, 2020. The city organising it will remain Kwidzyn.

LONDON (GBR): British 800 m runner Guy Learmonth, who captained the Brits at the European Indoor Championships last year and is hoping to be picked in the 800m, has become the first British athlete to warn that the risks of going to Tokyo in July are not worth it in the current climate. "We have no idea how bad this is going to get, and what we have seen so far might be the tip of the iceberg," Learmonth said. "Of course the IOC and the whole world wants a successful Olympics. But for that to happen I strongly believe the event needs to be postponed - unless the authorities can guarantee it will be business as usual, which I don't believe they can." Informs http://theguardian.com