Thu, 13 Aug 2020

People compete to cross the Yangtze River in Wuhan on July 16, 2019. (Xinhua/Cheng Min)

WUHAN, July 15 (Xinhua) -- The 46th Wuhan International Yangtze River Crossing Festival has been canceled amid safety concerns, as continuous heavy rainfall has swollen the river, organizers announced Tuesday.

The central Chinese city of Wuhan raised its flood alert level last week after torrential rain battered swathes of the country, including the Yangtze River on which it sits.

The water level in the Wuhan section stayed more than one meter above the warning point on Tuesday, just two days before the festival, prompting the municipal government to approve its cancelation, according to organizers.

The swimming event is held on July 16 every year to commemorate the late Mao Zedong's famous swim across the river in 1966.

Over 300 local swimmers were expected to take part in this year's competition, which many saw as an opportunity to demonstrate the city's recovery from the COVID-19 epidemic. ■

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