The 2021 World Athletics Indoor Championships in the Chinese city of Nanjing have been postponed by two years amid continued uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event had been due to take place from March 19-21 but it will now be held in March 2023. It marks the second postponement for the championships, which had initially been planned for March 13-15 this year.

The event will be held at Nanjing’s ‘Cube’ arena, which forms part of the city’s Youth Olympic Sports Park.

World Athletics said that it had been liaising with the local organising committee and the Chinese Athletics Association to evaluate the possibility of staging the event next year. It was ultimately decided that there is still “significant uncertainty” about the state of the pandemic during the early part of 2021 and the decision has been made to postpone the competition.

World Athletics said in a statement: “For the safety of our athletes and technical officials, we must duly consider the risks in bringing a large group of people to attend the event under the pandemic situation and fully respect and carry out the pandemic prevention policy of the host country.

“The indoor season for athletics falls within a narrow calendar window (up to the end of March) so it is not possible to extend the event to later in the year.”

Nanjing has agreed to stage the World Indoor Championships in 2023, a year after the Serbian capital of Belgrade hosts the event. The event is usually held every two years, with the most recent edition taking place in Birmingham, England in 2018.