At the second special meeting of the National Junior High School Sports Association executive board, it was announced that due to the effects of the ongoing coronavirus crisis, the National Junior High School Ekiden Championships scheduled for Dec. 20 in Shiga's Kibogaoka Park have been canceled. Founded in 1993, it is the first time the championships have been canceled in their 28-year history.
An Association spokesperson explained the decision, saying, "There are differences in infection levels in different areas of the country, and this is an event that brings people in from all of them. Because there are many aspects of the event that require teams to move around, the risk of spreading the virus is extremely high." A written statement from the Association said, "For junior high school-aged athletes, making it to these championships is a dream on the level of the Olympics. This was a difficult decision to make."
This summer's National Junior High School Track and Field Championships were also canceled.
Translator's note: This is the first national championships-level ekiden to be canceled, following the earlier cancelation of elite-level races like October's Nihonkai Ekiden, Kurayoshi Women's Ekiden, Okukuma Ekiden and Izumo Ekiden, and November's East Japan Women's Ekiden.
translated by Brett Larner