Pan-American canoe sprint qualifiers cancelled due to COVID-19

(Reuters) - The Pan-American Canoe Sprint Olympic qualifiers scheduled for next month in Curitiba, Brazil, have been cancelled due to concerns over COVID-19, the International Canoe Federation (ICF) said Friday.

The qualifying schedule for the Tokyo Olympics has been seriously disrupted in the run-up to the Games, which were delayed a year due to the novel coronavirus, and numerous events have been cancelled or postponed as international federations grapple with the pandemic fallout.

Fourteen places in the canoe sprint competition in Tokyo will be determined by the ICF after discussions with the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

"The increased COVID cases in the region had prompted the local authorities to impose tougher restrictions, which meant COPAC (Pan American Canoe Federation) could not hold the event safely for the benefit of athletes and their teams and ensure a fair and equal opportunity for all athletes to qualify," the ICF said in a statement.

The ICF added that other continental qualifiers were still set to go forward, including the slalom championships in Rio next month.

(Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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