The Hong Kong Lacrosse Open 2020 has been cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak, while the crisis has also affected domestic competitions and preparations for July's Under-19 World Championships in Ireland.
It is the first time the tournament has been cancelled because of a health issue after six editions. Last year's event was won by teams from Japan, with Fogo taking the men's title and Keio University winning the women's competition.
Raymond Fong, CEO of the Hong Kong Lacrosse Association (HKLA), said: "The current epidemic situation in Hong Kong has not subsided. Different countries and regions, including Hong Kong, have implemented 14-day compulsory quarantine orders.
"Overseas teams have taken this into consideration and decided not to join this year. The Hong Kong Lacrosse Open is the biggest annual event for the local lacrosse community. The tournament helps local players to gain experience through competition with overseas teams."
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The tournament is one of many international and local events that have been either cancelled or postponed because of the coronavirus threat, the biggest of which is rugby's Hong Kong Sevens - which has been delayed until October from early April.
Last year, lacrosse teams from Japan, China, Taiwan, South Korea and Singapore competed at the University of Hong Kong.
Fong said the outbreak of Covid-19 - the disease caused by the coronavirus - has forced the HKLA to also cut the domestic men's Champions League, while the women's tournament has been shortened and will go straight to the finals.
The Hong Kong Open was also meant to give some of the younger players experience ahead of the Ireland world championships, while the limited use of training grounds has also hampered preparations.
"The government 's training ground is still closed and the Hong Kong team 's routine training was forced to be cancelled," said Fong. "Players can only perform physical training on their own. The schedule of other local competitions also needs to be rearranged.
"Our coaching team can now only act according to the situation. I hope that the epidemic can be eased as soon as possible, and everything will be back on track soon."
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