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ESPN postpones maiden Chinese winter X Games event

The X Games action sports franchise has become the latest organisation affected by China’s coronavirus crisis following a decision to postpone its inaugural winter edition in the country.

The winter X Games was scheduled to debut in Chongli, Hebei province, on February 21-23. However, ESPN, the creator of the X Games, has now announced the event will be rescheduled.

“Due to the ongoing coronavirus concerns, the X Games Chongli 2020 event will be postponed until a later date,” ESPN said in a statement reported by the Forbes website. “The safety of our athletes, staff and spectators is our top priority, and we will continue to closely monitor the situation.”

In January 2019, a multi-year hosting agreement was signed between ESPN and REnextop Entertainment to stage events in China. The first X Games China event featured summer sport disciplines and was held in June in Shanghai.

In November, it was announced that X Games Chongli would be held at the Genting Resort Secret Garden ski resort, which is also earmarked as a venue for the 2022 Beijing winter Olympics. The disciplines featured were set to be men’s and women’s, and ski and snowboard, versions of big air, slopestyle and superpipe (known as halfpipe at the Olympics).

Hong Kong today (Tuesday) said it plans to cut back cross-border travel between the city and mainland China as the coronavirus continues to spread. More than 100 people are now said to have died in China, with confirmed infections rising to more than 4,500.

Concerns over the virus have led to a raft of both domestic and international sporting events being cancelled or postponed.