The B.C. Winter Games have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, organizing bodies announced Friday.
The multi-sport games were set to be played in Vernon, B.C. on Feb. 24 to 27.
“I recognize how devastating this news is for the athletes, coaches, volunteers, and host region of Greater Vernon who have been working tirelessly to prepare for these Games,” sport and tourism minister Melanie Mark said in a statement.
“These are not easy decisions to make. I sincerely hope that the dreams of these athletes to compete at this stage can be safely realized in the near future.”
The games were to include 1,800 athletes, coaches, and officials from across the province and up to 2,000 volunteers to help out.
“Our volunteer board of directors and chairs have worked relentlessly to bring these Games to our community and we are very disappointed for the athletes and volunteers,” said Val Trevis, president of the Vernon Games Society.
“We are committed to discussions to determine if there is a path forward to host these Games in the future.”
Both the B.C. Winter Games and Summer Games are held every two years.
The 2020 winter games were held successfully in Fort St. John in late February of that year, weeks before the province declared a state of emergency due to the pandemic.
Maple Ridge was to host the 2020 summer games but they were cancelled. Maple Ridge is now set to host the 2024 summer games.
Prince George is designated to host the 2022 summer games.
Safely running sports tournaments has not been without concern during the pandemic, especially when travel for their play is involved. B.C.’s current public health restrictions forbid them.
In late 2021, a large COVID-19 outbreak at the University of Victoria was linked, in part, to a rugby tournament.