The inaugural IWBF 3×3 Open World Championships has been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak forcing the rescheduling of the 2020 IWAS World Games.

The International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) today announced that the 2020 IWAS World Games, scheduled to be held in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, from 22-28 February, has been postponed due to concerns around the coronavirus.

The IWAS World Games was set to host the first ever IWBF 3×3 Open World Championships, but following the rescheduling of the World Games to the new dates and consultation with both IWAS, the LOC and the countries entered into the wheelchair basketball competition, IWBF has had to come to the decision that it is not feasible for the 3×3 Open World Championships to take place at this different time.

IWBF Secretary General, Nobert Kucera, said:

“Due to a number of conflicts in our sporting calendar, the new dates selected have resulted in wheelchair basketball no longer being able to be part of the event. This is incredibly disappointing for everyone involved; especially as it has felt like a very long journey to get to this point for the 3×3 wheelchair basketball game.

“I would like to thank all countries who entered for their support in establishing this event and they will of course be given the first option to enter the 3×3 Open World Championships when we are able to re-schedule it.

“Finally, I would like to thank IWAS and the Local Organisation Committee (LOC) in Thailand for championing wheelchair basketball. It was clear that they were operationally ready to deliver what would have been a significant event in the history of our sport; but unfortunately, the external factors have prohibited it on this occasion and the health and welfare of the athletes and all participants must take priority.

“We would like to wish them all the very best with their rearranged Games and the tremendous challenges the country is facing with regards to the current World Health Emergency.”

IWBF’s Chair of Competitions Commission, Charlie Bethel, added:

“It is regrettable to not be able to deliver the 3×3 World Championships at this time, especially after all the time and work that has already gone into developing and preparing the 3×3 wheelchair basketball game, however the health and well-being of our athletes and officials is always paramount so we fully understand the rationale of IWAS and the LOC.

“We are looking at a number of different options to ensure the Championships is rearranged so we don’t lose this momentum of the 3×3 game going forward.”