LUCERNE, Switzerland (AP) — The world university winter games in Switzerland were canceled Monday to help stop the spread of the new COVID-19 variant.

Organizers of the Winter Universiade in Lucerne cited “highly dynamic developments in the pandemic and related incoming travel restrictions” for the decision.

Students from more than 500 universities in at least 50 countries were scheduled to compete in 60 medal events from Dec. 11-21 at venues across central and eastern Switzerland.

They included delegations from several countries — including Australia, Britain and the Netherlands — which faced entering a 10-day quarantine required by the Swiss federal government to limit spread of the omicron variant.

Sports officials and broadcasting staff traveling from abroad also faced being quarantined.

“As a result of these official restrictions, the Winter Universiade 2021 cannot now take place,” organizers said in a statement.

The multi-sport event was already postponed during the pandemic from its original dates in January 2021.

“We are devastated and very sorry that we will not be able to welcome the athletes from all over the world, who have been preparing intensively for their competitions,” organizing committee president Guido Graf said.

The next edition of the biennial winter games is scheduled for 2023 in Lake Placid, New York.


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