Sheffield World Championship warm-up snooker tournament called off over coronavrius fears
A tournament traditonally played as curtain raiser to Sheffield’s World Snooker Championships has been called off because of the deadly coronavirus.
The game’s lucrative China Open has been postponed over fears around the coronavirus outbreak.
The ranking event in Beijing was due to take place from 30 March to 5 April, finishing 13 days before the World Championship starts at The Crucible.
"Our priority has to be the welfare of players, staff and the many fans who travel around China and beyond," said the World Snooker Tour.
Meanwhile, the LPGA Blue Bay golf event in China has been cancelled.
The women's competition was scheduled to begin on 5 March.
Two people from the same family have tested positive for coronavirus in the UK, the chief medical officer for England announced on Friday.
At least 213 people in China have died from the virus, with almost 10,000 cases nationally. There have been a further 98 cases in another 18 countries.
The WST said: "Discussions with our partners in terms of staging this event at a later date are ongoing.
"In the meantime, our thoughts are with all of our many friends across China and in particular those affected by the coronavirus."
The tournament, which was last year won by Australian Paul Robertson, has traditonally been a curtain raising warm-up tournament for Sheffield’s annual World Snooker Championships, which this year will take place in the city between April 18 and May 4.
The contest has been held in Sheffield since 1977.