Hong Kong (AFP)

The WTA tennis tournament in Hong Kong, scheduled for early October, has been postponed indefinitely, organizers said Friday by highlighting "the current situation" in the former British colony, scene of a major political challenge.

"In view of the current situation, the Hong Kong Tennis Federation and the WTA announce a postponement of the Hong Kong Open Tennis 2019," said in a statement the Hong Kong Federation (HKTA). "The event will not take place from October 5th to 13th."

"After in-depth discussions with our key partners, we concluded that the tournament's smooth running would be better ensured at a later date."

"The organizers and the WTA are in discussion to determine another week to host the event.A forthcoming announcement will be made at the appropriate time."

The Hong Kong Open, one of the biggest international sporting events in the city, attracts big names every year. Venus Williams, Angelique Kerber, Kristina Mladenovic and Caroline Wozniacki, who won the 2016 edition, have already participated.

The tournament is played on the grounds of Victoria Park, the large park in the heart of Hong Kong Island that has been the scene of many mass gatherings since June.

The former British colony is going through its worst political crisis since the handover in 1997, with almost daily demonstrations and actions, which sometimes degenerated into violent clashes between radicals and police.

The dispute arose in June from the rejection of a Hong Kong bill aimed at authorizing extraditions to China.

The text was definitively abandoned, but the movement has considerably broadened its demands, notably to demand democratic reforms and to denounce the decline in freedoms in the former British colony and Beijing's growing interference in the internal affairs of the semi-autonomous region. autonomous.

© 2019 AFP