24 Apr 2003

Arafura Games cancelled due to SARS uncertainty

3:55 pm on 24 April 2003

Uncertainty over SARS has forced the organisers of next month's Arafura Games in Australia to cancel the event.

The Games, which were scheduled from May 18-24 in Darwin, attract 3000 participants from the Asia Pacific region, 75% of which come from Asian countries hardest hit by the SARS crisis.

The decision to cancel the Games was made by the Chief Minister of Northern Territory, Clare Martin, who says doubts over the availability of international teams and health concerns were the deciding factors.

Media spokesman for the Arafura Games, Andrew Cummins, says the considerable concern over SARS stemming from Asia ultimately affected the viability of the event.

"Particularly in light of what came out from China over the weekend was that there was obviously a great deal of concern about people from those countries, and also people traveling through those countries to get to Darwin in relation to and how that could impact on the games, but also about the viability of numbers in regards to teams who were interested in coming who had sort of said were not sure were coming anymore"

Andrew Cummins