Four ski jumping World Cup events scheduled for January and February in Sapporo next year have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, organizers said Thursday.

The Ski Association of Sapporo said the International Ski Federation-sanctioned events were called off following a surge of infections on the northernmost main island of Hokkaido, particularly in its capital Sapporo.

“We place the highest priority on ensuring the safety of the large number of participants, including athletes and staff coming from abroad as well as our domestic jumpers, and reached the conclusion that we have no choice but to cancel it,” the association said.

Sapporo’s Okurayama Ski Jump Stadium was to host two women’s World Cup events on Jan. 9 and 10, followed by two men’s meets on Feb. 6 and 7.

The January women’s ski jumping events at Zao resort in Yamagata Prefecture had already been canceled over the pandemic, leaving the freestyle mogul events on March 6 and 7 at Tazawako resort in Akita Prefecture as the only World Cup fixtures slated to be held in Japan this season.

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