Ziyuan will not stage the World Rafting Championships until 2022, following a second postponement ©Getty Images

The World Rafting Championships (WRC) in Ziyuan have been postponed until 2022 - marking the second time the event has been delayed by 12 months.

The Chinese venue had been due to stage the International Rafting Federation's (IRF) marquee event in 2020, before the coronavirus crisis led to it being pushed back to 2021.

Banja Luka in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was first due to host the 2021 edition, then 2022, has now had its hosting rights pushed back to 2023.

Chinese hosts have warned the IRF that the Government "will continue to impose restrictions and lengthy quarantines on foreigners entering China for the foreseeable future", IRF President Joseph Willis Jones wrote when informing the membership of the postponement.

"Ziyuan County officials are also understandably concerned that the WRC could put their citizens at risk of exposure to the virus. 

"To ensure the safety of the athletes, officials, organisers, participants, and spectators, they have requested that their hosting of the WRC be postponed to 2022."

China's border is largely closed in response to the health crisis ©Getty Images
China's border is largely closed in response to the health crisis ©Getty Images

Jones said the IRF was "saddened" by developments, but added that "all involved parties agree that this difficult decision is the best option under the present circumstances".

The IRF says is will explore the possibility of staging World Championships at an alternative location in 2021, but has conceded that would require a significant improvement concerning the global health crisis.

"As always, the IRF will put the health and safety of our events, our athletes and supporters, and our sport ahead of all other considerations," Jones insisted.

"On behalf of the IRF Board of Directors, I wish to take this opportunity to thank the IRF member nations of China and BiH for the patience they’ve displayed during this uncertain process, and for their willingness to work closely with the IRF and each other to support our wonderful sport and our large and growing family of athletes and member federations."