The European Shooting Confederation (ESC) has confirmed the postponement of an event offering qualification places for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The European 10-Metre Championships in rifle, pistol and running target were due to be staged from February 26 to March 6 in the Finnish city of Lohja, but organisers have decided to call it off over concerns related to the global health crisis.
The ESC is now set to consider the possibility of staging the event at a later date in the hope of providing qualification opportunities for Tokyo 2020 hopefuls.
Six quota places were scheduled to be on offer in Lohja - four in rifle and two in the pistol event.
A further 10 spots are set to be up for grabs in Osijek in Croatia, which is expected to host the European Championships in shotgun, 25m pistol and 50m rifle from May 23 to June 6.
Those quota places were due to be allocated at the 2020 European Shotgun Championships in Châteauroux in France and the 2020 European Olympic Qualification Championship in Plzeň in the Czech Republic, before the events were cancelled because of the pandemic.
Should the European Championships not be able to take place, continental rankings as of May 31, 2020 will be used to allocate Tokyo 2020 berths instead.
Including team events, a maximum of 360 places are available for the Games.
A series of coronavirus countermeasures were set to be put in place by organisers of the European 10-metres Championships, including regular testing for COVID-19.
Competitors had also been due to compete in a bio-secure bubble at the Kisakallio Sport Institute.
The Organising Committee issued its preliminary health advice to teams on December 18 before holding a review with the Finnish Government on January 10.
According to the Helsinki Times, the Finnish Government is considering imposing tougher restrictions after confirming the presence of two more transmissible coronavirus variants which were first detected in the United Kingdom and South Africa.
"Measures have been proposed to step up security at the borders, but so have tighter restrictions that we could adopt inside the country," said Krista Kiuru, Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services in Finland.
"We’ll also have to consider the possibility of suspending upper-secondary [education] activities.
"We’re for the first time ever in a situation where it appears that the virus is transmitting more easily also to children and young people."
Finland has reported at least 38,790 coronavirus cases resulting in almost 600 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.