IFSC World Cups in Xiamen and Wujiang, scheduled for October, have been cancelled ©Getty Images

October’s two International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) World Cup legs scheduled to take place China have been cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The lead and speed IFSC World Cup in Xiamen was due to take place from October 15 to 17, while the boulder and speed IFSC World Cup in Wujiang had already been postponed to October 22 to 24 in March.

Both tournaments were due to be the last events of the lead and boulder seasons.

The World Cup leg in the Slovenian city of Kranj on 3 and 4 September will now bring the lead season to a close, with the final boulder World Cup event due to take place in the South Korean capital Seoul from October 1 to 3 - a competition which was also postponed from its original May date in March.

The IFSC recently confirmed that the Seoul leg is due to go ahead as planned.

A World Cup in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, will conclude the speed season.

IFSC President Marco Scolaris said of today’s decision: "After a disrupted 2020 season, thanks to the efforts of our staff, officials, event organisers, athletes, and National Federations, the 2021 season has been able to go ahead successfully so far.

"However, the pandemic is still very real and therefore, we’re disappointed that due to COVID-19 the world cups in Xiamen and Wujiang will not go ahead in October.

"We thank our friends at the Chinese Mountaineering Association for their support and hope that sport climbing will return to China in 2022."

China has pursued a so-called zero-COVID strategy, and continues to implement strict border controls and travel restrictions, which has led to the cancellation of several international sporting competitions.

A boulder World Cup and boulder and speed World Cup were held at Salt Lake City in May ©Getty Images
A boulder World Cup and boulder and speed World Cup were held at Salt Lake City in May ©Getty Images

These include the recent announcements on the International Skating Union Cup of China, and Association of Tennis Professionals Tour 250 events the Shanghai Masters, Chengdu Open and Zhuhai Championships.

The country is due to host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing from February 4 to 20, and the Winter Paralympics from March 4 to 13.

The 2021 boulder season began at the World Cup in Meiringen in Switzerland in April, and will have consisted of six legs should the upcoming events in Moscow in September and Seoul proceed as planned.

Kokoro Fujii of Japan is the men’s leader, and the United States' Natalia Grossman the women’s.

The speed season started at Salt Lake City in the US in May - one of two World Cup events to have taken place so far, with a further three scheduled.

Indonesia's Veddriq Leonardo tops the men’s rankings, and American Emma Hunt the women’s.

In lead, the season opener came at Innsbruck in Austria in June, with a further three events having been held and two more currently on the calendar.

Grossman also leads the women’s season rankings, and Stefano Ghisolfi of Italy the men’s.

Sport climbing debuted at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, with all three disciplines featuring in the men's and women's combined events.

Four medals will be on offer when it features again at Paris 2024, with boulder and lead comprising the combined and speed running as a separate event for both men and women.