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Sports Shorts: Speed skating world champ dies aged 27

World champion Dutch speed skater Lara van Ruijven has died aged 27 after battling with an autoimmune disorder, the Royal Dutch Skating Federation (KNSB) said on Friday.

The 27-year-old short track skater, who won a bronze medal at the 2018 Olympics, was admitted to hospital in Perpignan, France last month after falling ill during a training camp.

She was placed in intensive care and kept in an artificial coma but despite undergoing surgery, her health continued to deteriorate.

“What horrible news we’ve just received. Her loss will be felt through the whole sporting world,” said Dutch short track coach Jeroen Otter.

“It is an enormous blow for a close-knit group. We’ve missed her over the last two weeks but today’s news is so definite and surreal.”

Van Ruijven won the 500 metres title at the world championships in Sofia last year, and an Olympic bronze medal in the 3,000m relay at 2018 Pyeongchang Games.

“We feel the pain for her family and the short track team,” said KNSB director Herman de Haan. “This is hard to comprehend. On behalf of KNSB I want to wish Lara’s friends and family strength with dealing with this great loss.”

OCA mulls rescheduling Asian Beach Games after China decision

The Olympic Council of Asia is considering new dates for this year’s Asian Beach Games in Sanya, China, the OCA said on Saturday, following China’s decision to cancel all international sports in the country following the COVID-19 crisis.

The sixth edition of the Games was scheduled from Nov. 28-Dec. 6 but China’s General Administration of Sport said on Friday the only international sports events allowed in the country this year would be trials for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

The OCA said it was in discussion with the beach games organisers and the Chinese Olympic Committee to reschedule the event.

“The three parties … are closely monitoring the situation on a daily basis and working together closely to adjust the dates, if required,” the OCA said in a statement.

“Once a decision has been made, OCA jointly with Chinese Olympic Committee and the Sanya Asian Beach Organising Committee will announce the new dates regarding the sixth Asian Beach Games.”

The Badminton World Federation has also sought more information from China before taking a call on the season-ending World Tour Finals scheduled in Guangzhou from December 16-20.

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