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Suva, FIJI/Port Moresby, PNG – April 14, 2020: 12.15pm (POST COURIER): The 13th Oceania Swimming Championships that is expected to be held in Suva, Fiji from June 15-21 has been deferred indefinitely in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Oceania Swimming Association’s Matthew Dunn told affiliate members that the decision was made after consultation with Fiji Swimming president Ben Rova and with consideration to government travel restrictions.

“We confirm that these championships will be postponed indefinitely with the view to continually assess the situation with the hope of rescheduling later in the year.

This decision was made in consultation with Rova, and with consideration to government travel restrictions, event restrictions, home training environments and most importantly, the potential health risks to our athletes. Under the circumstances we believe this was the only decision to take,” Dunn said.

PNG Swimming Inc has also advised its members that due to the closure of all sporting facilities in PNG, including our training centres, the Theodist National Championships and the FINA technical officials clinic that was scheduled for this month, has been deferred to a later date.

Dunn also said that the Oceania Swimming Association annual general meeting has also been postponed to a later date in the year.

“On behalf of the Oceania Swimming Association board, I hope you, your family and federation are doing well during this time of unprecedented global uncertainty. We held an Oceania Swimming Association board conference call and wanted to provide an update and inform you on a few matters,” he said.

He added that a FINA taskforce of medical professionals has been established to advise on the viability of hosting aquatic events in the current environment.

However, he added that at this stage most governments have legislated against such events, however, if this situation changes or “you are unsure, please let us know and we can connect you directly into them”.

“We are fortunate to have Dr David Gerrrard, President of Swimming NZ, as a member of this panel who will continue to keep us updated on key developments.

“The taskforce also produced an overview of the coronavirus. At this stage, it is believed that there is no risk of contracting the coronavirus in chlorinated water,” Dunn said.

“FINA clinics within Oceania will be cancelled up to and including June 2020.”

The situation will be reassessed at this point to determine the viability of hosting FINA clinics for the remainder of the calendar year.

On the Tokyo Olympics, Dunn said at this stage the games are proceeding according to the local organising committee and the International Olympic Committee.

The IOC will be working with international federations on the potential of formulating different qualification criteria given the current circumstances. No doubt this situation will continue to evolve….PACNEWS

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