FILE PHOTO: Alpine Skiing – FIS Alpine World Ski Championships – Men’s Slalom – Are, Sweden – February 17, 2019 – France’s Alexis Pinturault in action. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo
ROME (Reuters) – The Italian winter sports federation (FISI) will ask to push back the 2021 Alpine skiing World Championships in Cortina d’Ampezzo by a year because of uncertainties linked to the coronavirus, the head of the country’s Olympic committee said.
Should the request to stage the event in March, 2022 be approved, the World Championships would take place in the month after the Winter Olympics in China.
“We’ve been working on it for years… but tomorrow (FISI President) Flavio Roda will bring to the (International Skiing Federation) board the request to move the World Championships from February 2021 to March 2022,” CONI President Giovanni Malago said in an interview on state broadcaster RAI late on Sunday.
Malago said Italy’s Sports Minister had been informed and that the decision had been taken for security reasons and was “a choice of common sense”.
Gianpietro Ghedina, mayor of the ski resort of Cortina in northern Italy, said on Facebook that the decision had been taken in order to ensure the security of athletes and all the people attending the public event.
“The risks would be a lot if the epidemic should restart in the autumn. Cortina deserves this international sports event and wants to host it in the best possible conditions,” Ghedina added.
Italy has been one of the worst-hit countries in the world by the COVID-19 pandemic, with almost 32,800 deaths and close to 230,000 cases.
Cortina, located in the Dolomites, will also host the 2026 Winter Olympics, together with the northern Italian city of Milan. [nL8N23V597]
Reporting by Giulia Segreti, editing by Ed Osmond