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Two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu will sit out the International Skating Union’s upcoming Grand Prix series due to concerns about the new coronavirus, the Japan Skating Federation said Friday.

In a statement released through the federation, Hanyu, who has asthma, said he was taking the precaution because of the higher risk he faces from the pneumonia-causing coronavirus.

“As people with respiratory problems are at greater risk of becoming severely ill, I want to be as careful as possible,” Hanyu said.

“By exercising self-restraint, I can also contribute to the effort to stop the spread of infection.”

It will be the first time the 25-year-old Hanyu, a four-time Grand Prix Final winner, has missed the series, other than through injury.

With Japan restricting the entry of foreign passport holders because of the coronavirus pandemic, Hanyu may have been unable to train with his Canadian coach Brian Orser had he competed in the modified series.

Events in the upcoming Grand Prix — which marks the start of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics preseason — will be limited to athletes based in the country where each round is held. Skaters will be limited to contesting a single event in the series, rather than the normal two.

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