Sailing-America's Cup opener confirmed for March 10

(Reuters) - The 36th America's Cup will begin with the first two races next Wednesday, organisers confirmed on Friday after the New Zealand government announced Auckland's strict coronavirus lockdown would be lifted on Sunday morning.

The first four races in the contest for the oldest trophy in international sport were scheduled for Saturday and Sunday in Auckland but postponed after the New Zealand government announced the snap lockdown on the city last weekend.

"The highly anticipated Race 1 of the 36th America’s Cup Match will start ... on Wednesday 10th March after the government announced a reduction in alert levels today," race organisers said in a statement.

The best-of-13 race series between holders Team New Zealand and Italian challengers Luna Rossa will continue after Wednesday with two races on Friday, March 12 and every day thereafter until a winner is decided.

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney, editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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