Road To The Olympic Games


Tokyo world figure skating event under a cloud

The International Skating Union says it will decide the status of the world figure skating championships by Monday morning at the latest. The Japanese skating federation said Tokyo's Yoyogi stadium escaped damage in Friday's devastating earthquake.

ISU to make decision Monday, Germans already out

The International Skating Union is considering cancelling the world figure skating championships and says it will decide the fate of the event by Monday morning at the latest.

But German officials didn't wait for the official word, announcing Sunday they won't be sending their team.

Germany has told citizens not travel to Japan and the German Ice Skating Union said in a statement it would follow that recommendation. The first German skaters would have left Wednesday for the world event, which is scheduled to begin March 21.

The Japanese skating federation initially said Tokyo's Yoyogi stadium escaped damage in Friday's devastating earthquake.

But ISU officials said in a statement Sunday they're concerned about damage to nuclear reactors, saying " … in particular the developments in the Fukushima nuclear plant are very worrisome and also resulted in travel advisories from many countries to avoid travelling to Japan until the situation is settled."

The threat of multiple reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi complex about 275 kilometres from Tokyo has forced the evacuation of more than 170,000 people and prompted fears of radiation contamination.

Skate Canada officials have said they're monitoring the situation in Tokyo, and Canada's Foreign Affairs Department urged Canadians to avoid non-essential travel to certain areas of Japan, which didn't include Tokyo.

France took the added step of suggesting people leave Tokyo in case radiation reached the city. The French skating federation brought home European champion Florent Amodio "as a precautionary measure." Amodio was training in Fukuoka on the island of Kyushu ahead of the event.

The world championships are scheduled to be held at the arena built 50 years ago in the Shibuya district as a venue for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

Canadian ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are the defending world champions, while Patrick Chan is the two-time defending world silver medallist.

Japan's Mao Asada, in women's singles, and teammate Daisuke Takahashi, in men's singles, are defending world champions.

"The ISU sympathizes deeply with the Japanese people in this monstrous natural disaster and extends its wishes and support and comfort to all those affected," the ISU's statement said.

"While the ISU is awaiting the declaration of the competent Japanese authorities that should be forthcoming shortly, the ISU will release a further statement a soon as possible but latest in the morning of Monday, March 14, 2011."

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