• Kyodo

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Organizers of the Tokyo Marathon on Friday asked Chinese residents who have registered for the March 1 race to voluntarily defer their entry until next year due to concerns about the ongoing outbreak of a new coronavirus (COVID-19).

Registered runners from China who defer entry will have their fees for next year’s race waived, said the organizers, who earlier announced they would grant automatic qualification for the 2021 event.

The organizers had previously said a separate entry fee would apply, but decided to remove the additional cost following a request from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

“With the change of our condition for deferring entry, we would like to sincerely request all registered runners residing (in China) to defer their entry voluntarily,” the race organizers said in a statement.

The deferred entry will be offered to 1,820 runners of various nationalities based in China, where the coronavirus outbreak has caused more than 1,300 deaths and led to restrictions on travel in and out of the country.