The Men's Under-23 Wheelchair Basketball World Championship has been moved to Thailand due to COVID-19 ©Getty Images

The International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) Men's Under-23 World Championship has been relocated from Chiba to Phuket due to continuing COVID-19 concerns in Japan.

The decision to relocate to Thailand was confirmed by the IWBF in conjunction with the Japanese Wheelchair Basketball Federation (JWBF).

"Given the COVID-19 pandemic situation and the measures currently in place in Japan combined with the difficulties over the availability of facilities for later dates in the year, JWBF have made the difficult decision to return the hosting rights for the IWBF Men’s U23 World Championship that were awarded to them in 2019," said IWBF competition chairman Charlie Bethel.

"We would like to thank JWBF for all their efforts and work they have put in over the past three years to try and make the event go ahead.

"We hope to be able to work with JWBF in the future to bring international wheelchair basketball back to Japan."

The tournament was originally planned to take place in 2021 but the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and the coronavirus pandemic caused organisers to reschedule it.

"We are grateful for IWBF’s understanding of the difficult circumstances that led to our decision to relinquish the event in Japan," said JWBF Executive Board member Shimpei Oikawa.

Phuket is also set to host the Asia Oceania Wheelchair Basketball Championships ©Getty Images
Phuket is also set to host the Asia Oceania Wheelchair Basketball Championships ©Getty Images

"While the decision was made after intensive consideration and deliberation, it was extremely unfortunate because much preparation had already taken place and world’s top young players were set to compete at this long-awaited championship.

"Nevertheless, JWBF is committed to promotion and development of Wheelchair Basketball globally and will be seeking different ways to contribute by working together with IWBF and the Wheelchair Basketball community throughout the world."

The IWBF selected Thailand as the new host as the Sport Association for Wheelchair Basketball Thailand has a proven track record of staging international competitions, with Phuket already set to host the 2022 Asia Oceania Championships.

The continental competition was scheduled for March but has been pushed back to May.

The Asia Oceania Zone's 3x3 Commonwealth Games qualification tournament was due to be held alongside it but will no longer take place, also due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The countries registered to participate can instead apply for Birmingham 2022 inclusion through the wildcard bipartite system.