Japan's Sapporo downsizes running event as virus cases rise

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A woman walks on a snow-covered street in Sapporo, Hokkaido

TOKYO (Reuters) - The Japanese city of Sapporo, host of marathon and race walk events at the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics, has downsized a test running event due to be held early next month as coronavirus cases rise.

A 10 kilometre run for 2,500 participants has been cancelled, organisers said in a statement on Monday, adding that planned races for elite runners will still be held in the city, which is located on the northern island of Hokkaido.

Japan is seeing rising infection numbers in major urban centres driven by mutant strains, complicating efforts to deliver the Games amid public concern over their potential health impact.

(Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)