The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has postponed the World Para Swimming and World Para Powerlifting Championships, which were due to get underway in Mexico City on 30th September.
The decision was taken following discussions with the local organising committee and the City of Mexico government, after an earthquake on Tuesday in the Mexican capital left over 200 people dead and toppled many buildings.
Although the two venues that were set to stage the championships only sustained minor damage, the IPC says that a full structural assessment needs to be conducted. Additionally, some of the hotels that were due to accommodate athletes and related infrastructure have been badly damaged by the 7.1 magnitude quake.
Around 1,400 athletes, officials and staff were scheduled to arrive in Mexico City for the 2017 Para Sport Festival, which was planned to run between 30th September and 6th October. The small number of team delegations that had already arrived in the city for training camps ahead of the event have all indicated they are safe.
The decision marks the first time the IPC has been forced to postpone a major championships in its history.
Andrew Parsons, the newly elected president of the IPC, said: “Following the terrible earthquake our thoughts, prayers and condolences are with the people of Mexico at this time. The tragic loss of life and devastation caused is heart breaking to see and our deepest sympathies are with all those involved.
“As a result of this tragedy, we are in full agreement that the immediate focus of the Mexican authorities should be on prioritising recovery and rebuilding for the Mexican people and not organising two major international sport events. Therefore, we have agreed with the local organising committee and City of Mexico government to postpone the upcoming World Championships in para swimming and para powerlifting until further notice.
“I know the postponement of both championships will be disappointing news to all the athletes who were set to take part, however these are unique circumstances and quite simply this is the right thing to do at the moment. Our immediate priority now is to work with the team delegations currently in Mexico City to ensure their safe departure. We will then assess whether we can reorganise these championships in the near future in Mexico City or seek alternatives.”