Coronavirus: three teams cancel their participation in the WJSSC


The Italian team Hot Shivers should have travel on Tuesday to Nottingham. (Credits: Sebastien Muller - 2020)

The spread of the coronavirus around the world has an impact on the upcoming ISU events. The ISU World Junior Synchronized Skating Championships in Nottingham, planned on March 13-14 in Great Britain remain scheduled but three teams have decided that they will no longer participate in the competition.

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Japan, Italy and France have withdrawn from the competition over the past few days due to the spread of the coronavirus.

"We’re obviously disappointed to lose three strong teams from the competition, but the health and safety of everyone involved in the competition is of utmost importance to us, so if the teams did not feel comfortable travelling to the UK we are fully supportive of their decisions", said the 2020 Junior Worlds Organizing Committee on Tuesday, three days before the start of this highly anticipated competition.
"They are safer at home"
Living near Milan, team Hot Shivers from Italy, decided to stay home last Friday. In the meantime, Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced that coronavirus lockdown measures were being extended to the entire country. 

"We took this decision because we should have faced too many unexpected events. What happens if someone by accident gets some fever even with no relationship with the spreading virus? What if someone would have been put under quarantine? What if flights were going to be cancelled? These and many other questions came to our mind and actually had no proper answers. I wouldn't let my skaters put at risk their health or life for a competition, even a World Championships. They are safer at home where we know what's happening," said Andrea Gilardi, the coach of the Italian team.

The Hot Shivers athletes were "very disappointed" about this decision "but they understood that it was the right decision".

Contacted on Monday, the Jingu Ice Messengers team explained to Jura Synchro that the decision to cancel the trip came from the Japanese Skating Federation.

Jingu Ice Messengers Junior from Japan should have taken part in the Junior Worlds for the first time in history. (Credits: Roy Ng - 2020)

Are there any new directives in Great Britain?
The ISU World Junior Synchronized Skating Championships (WJSSC) Organizing Committee has been in regular contact with all governmental and health agencies in Great Britain to ensure they’ve received the most up-to-date advise on the COVID-19 coronavirus. "As the Government has decided it is not currently necessary to stop large scale public gatherings or events taking place in the UK then it’s business as usual for the venue and the UK events industry," explained the Organizing Committee.

Does that change anything for the spectators and for the athletes? 

"Although the venue is operating as normal, we have introduced some extra measures to help protect spectators, athletes and all staff and volunteers involved in the event. The cleaning regime has been increased around the venue and additional handwashing stations have been set up to encourage people to wash their hands more regularly."

All team members received a health questionnaire and advice before they leave their respective countries to travel to the UK and follow up health screenings will take place before they skate. The same screening process will also be followed for volunteers, media and any staff requiring accreditation for the event, consisting of a simple temperature check and health questionnaire.

The Motorpoint Arena Nottingham is really looking forward to hosting the Junior Worlds
"We’ve been planning the event for months so we’re all ready to go and are looking forward to welcoming the teams to Nottingham. We hope all the teams participating in the competition, and everyone involved in delivering the event, has a memorable experience," concluded the Junior Worlds organizers.

With the withdrawn of Jingu Ice Messengers from Japan, Team Jeanne d'Arc from France and Hot Shivers from Italy, a total of 21 teams will compete on Friday and Saturday in Nottingham... probably in a very special atmosphere.

Results - TOP 3

ISU World Junior Synchronized Skating Championships 2020
Nottingham (GBR)
MAR 13, 2020 - MAR 15, 2020

TEAM Score
1Team Fintastic (FIN)205.94
2Junost (RUS)205.23
3Crystal Ice (RUS)200.09