ISU championships could be canceled

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ISU championships could be canceled


The head of the world’s governing body of figure skating said yesterday that this year’s World Figure Skating Championships in Tokyo could be canceled or rescheduled after they were indefinitely postponed earlier this week.

“We will opt for either the complete cancellation or a postponement to October - in Tokyo, if the authorities give us the go-ahead, or in a city in a different country,” Ottavio Cinquanta, president of the International Skating Union (ISU) told Italian paper La Gazzetta dello Sport. “And in that eventuality there would be the promise to award Japan with an edition in the future. As soon as possible we will make a statement to make our decision official.”

The ISU announced Monday that this year’s championships, scheduled for March 21-27, will not be held during the scheduled time but didn’t give alternative dates or a new venue. A 9.0 magnitude earthquake and an ensuing tsunami ravaged Japan, and the country is confronted with a widening nuclear crisis after explosions of nuclear reactors north of Tokyo.

The World Figure Skating Championships were canceled in 1961 when a plane carrying the U.S. skating team crashed on its way to Prague and killed all the skaters.

Cinquanta stressed that the competition will not be held in the near future in a different city because “it wouldn’t be correct toward a country that has been struck by such a tragedy and towards the Japanese federation, which was awarded the right to stage the competition.”

The Korean eastern coast city of Gangneung, Gangwon has been mentioned in news reports as a potential host for the worlds, though local figure skating officials said they hadn’t heard anything from the ISU. Gangneung recently hosted the World Junior Figure Skating Championships and Pyeongchang is bidding for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

The postponement has thrown off the competition schedule of Korean star Kim Yu-na, who would have made her first competitive appearance in about a year in Tokyo.

Kim, the reigning Olympic gold medalist and the 2009 world champion, hasn’t competed since last year’s worlds, where she finished second to Mao Asada of Japan. After parting with coach Brian Orser in August, Kim teamed up with Peter Oppegard and has set her short program to the ballet “Giselle” and her free skating routine to a compilation of traditional Korean music called “Homage to Korea.”

Kim has not made any scheduling changes as of Wednesday. She is currently training in Los Angeles.

An October rescheduling of the worlds could complicate preparations for Kim and other figure skaters. The ISU’s annual Grand Prix of Figure Skating series usually begins in late October. The first leg of the 2011-12 season is scheduled for Oct. 21-23 in Canada.


Related Korean Article[연합]
ISU 회장 "도쿄 피겨선수권, 취소하거나 10월로 연기"

일본을 덮친 지진과 해일로 오는 21일부터 도쿄에서 열릴 예정이었던 2011년 피겨스케이팅 세계선수권대회가 무산된 가운데, 국제빙상경기연맹(ISU) 회장이 "대회를 아예 취소하거나 10월로 연기하는 방안을 검토중"이라고 밝혔다.

오타비오 친콴타 ISU 회장은 16일 이탈리아 스포츠전문지 '라 가제타 델로 스포르트'와 인터뷰에서 "세 가지 가능성이 있다"며 이렇게 말했다.

친콴타 회장은 "우리는 상황을 매우 신중하게 살피고 있다"면서 "우선은 취소를 고려하게 될 것 같다. 아니면 10월로 옮겨 도쿄에서 치르거나 아예 다른 곳에서 열 수도 있다"고 설명했다.

애초 일본빙상연맹의 의견대로 강행 의사를 밝혔던 ISU는 상황이 갈수록 심각한 것으로 드러나자 14일 예정대로 대회를 치르지 않겠다고 발표했다.

AP통신은 "ISU가 다른 장소를 물색하고 있다"면서 이탈리아 토리노나 한국의 강릉 등을 대체 도시 후보로 지목했지만, 친콴타 회장은 이러한 추측을 모두 부인했다.

친콴타 회장은 다른 곳으로 장소를 옮기는 것은 갑작스러운 비극을 겪은 일본에 바른 행동이 아니라면서 "일본 국민을 존중하는 것이 최우선"이라고 강조했다.

그러면서 "만약 다른 도시로 장소를 옮겨 치른다면 일본에는 나중에 치러질 대회의 개최권을 보장하는 등 보상이 주어질 것"이라고 덧붙였다.

이날 친콴타 회장의 말은 취소 쪽에 무게를 실었지만, 아예 가을로 미뤄질 가능성도 함께 나와 관심을 끈다.

2011~2012시즌은 10월21~23일 예정된 그랑프리 1차 대회와 함께 시작한다.

만약 대회가 10월로 미뤄진다면 선수들은 올 시즌 세계선수권대회와 새 시즌이 겹치는 상황을 맞게 되 혼란을 피할 수 없을 전망이다.

친콴타 회장은 "빠른 시일 안에 게획을 확정해 공식적으로 발표할 것"이라고 말했다.
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