The Archery Association of India (AAI) on Thursday withdrew its team from the upcoming Asia Cup world ranking tournament in Bangkok owing to the coronavirus threat there.

The season-opening stage 1 tournament is scheduled to be held in Thailand’s capital from March 8 to 15.

This would have been India’s first international competition since their return from a five-month suspension.

“After reviewing the current alarming situation on account of coronavirus and taking into consideration the travel advisories issued by SAI and IOC, Archery Association of India is worried about the health of our team and cannot take any risk under the circumstances,” AAI assistant secretary Gunjan Abrol wrote to World Archery secretary general Tom Dielen.

Indian players withdraw

Indian shuttlers, including H S Prannoy and world no 10 men’s pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, have withdrawn from next week’s All England Championships due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus outbreak.

The season’s first World Tour Super 1000 tournament, the prestigious All England Championships, which counts towards qualification for Tokyo 2020 begins on March 11. “Some of the players have written to BAI, informing about their decision to withdraw from the All England Championships. Top doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy, H S Prannoy, Sameer Verma and Sourabh Verma have so far withdrawn,” BAI secretary Ajay Singhania told PTI.

“However, Saina Nehwal, P V Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth, Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy and Pranaav Jerry Chopra will be participating in the tournament.”

No hand shakes

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Thursday warned country’s athletes to be extra cautious about coronavirus outbreak, saying they should avoid shaking hands and close contact while mingling with people.

“I advise our sportspersons and common citizens also to be careful while mingling with various people. For sometime, it’s absolutely not necessary to shake hands or hug,” Rijiju tweeted. “We can manage with our traditional Namaste, Salaam, Jai Hind and many local words for greetings!”

Asian WC qualifiers

FIFA is considering postponing the Asian World Cup qualifiers due to be played this month, the global soccer body said on Thursday, adds Reuters.

China’s matches against Maldives at home and Guam away have already been moved to Buriram, Thailand, and will be played behind closed doors.

Races affected

Dutch team Jumbo Visma, Australia’s Mitchelton-Scott and France’s Groupama-FDJ have pulled put of Saturday’s Strade Bianche, one of several cycling races in Italy under threat because of the coronavirus outbreak, adds Reuters.

Organisers RCS said on Wednesday they would communicate updates and details in the coming days, following meetings with the authorities, starting with the Prefect ure of Siena on Thursday.