World Figure Skating Championships in Tokyo
The World Figure Skating Championships scheduled for March 21 to 27 in Japan were postponed after an earthquake and tsunami rocked the nation.
Large portions of the country were severely devastated on Friday, resulting in the International Skating Union deeming it impossible to continue the weeklong contests.
Britain had been ready to send their team of eight to Tokyo for the competition, which included John and Sinead Kerr, the ice dancing pair and current bronze medalists of the European Championships.
They were supposed to fly to Japan on Friday, along with ice dance pairs Nicholas Buckland and Penny Coomes, and David King and Stacey Kemp, and individual skaters Jenna McCorkell and David Richardson, but instead were kept at their respective training bases in the United Stated, Nottingham, Belgium, and Poland.
National Ice Skating Association representative Keith Horton said it would not have been proper to hold the competition.
Chief executive of the NISA extended his sympathies through BBC Sport to all who were affected by the tragedy.
He explained that the decision to postpone the championships was not a surprise, but rather the appropriate thing to do, as holding the championships in the midst of so many lost lives did not seem proper.
However, a decision had yet to be made whether the even would eventually be cancelled or just rescheduled.
A spokesman from the ISU said that their first concern was the security of all the athletes, the audience, and everyone involved.
Horton expressed doubts, though, about whether the championships can still go on this year.
He explained that the championships were the culmination of the season, and he was not sure how much allowance they had for a postponed schedule without touching on preparations for next season, which included a break for the skaters before coming back to the program.
They considered moving to a different venue despite the short notice, such as in Vancouver, Canada, which also hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics. But they found it impossible to implement logistically, as there were more than 300 skaters along with their entourage and volunteers, not to mention all the media players.
“We’ll have to wait and see,” he said, revealing that all the skaters had to remain at their training camps and just be ready if ever the championships will push through, but he added that he was doubtful.
If ever the championships do not push through, this will be the first time in fifty years for the World Figure Skating Championships to be called off.
The last time was the 1961 championships set to be held in Prague, which was called off following a plane carrying an American delegation crashing on landing in Brussels, with the skaters having gotten killed in the accident.
Along with the figure skating contests, a new international team event in Yokohama scheduled for April was also canceled.