Japan is set to become the first country in Asia to stage the IWBF Under-23 Men's World Championship ©IWBF

The 2021 International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) Men's Under-23 World Championship has been moved to 2022 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The IWBF has announced provisional dates for the event, now set to take place "between the second half of May 2022 and the first half of June 2022" in Chiba.

After being awarded the hosting rights in January 2020, the Japanese city was scheduled to stage the competition next year.

But when the outbreak of COVID-19 led the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games to be postponed to 2021, the IWBF felt it was best to reschedule the competition - first to December 2021 and now to 2022.

"The alteration of the originally proposed dates for the Under-23 World Championship was necessary due to the ongoing challenging circumstances the world is facing with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic," said Charlie Bethel, chairman of the IWBF Competition Commission. 

Britain won the last edition of the IWBF Under-23 Men's World Championship in 2017 ©IWBF
Britain won the last edition of the IWBF Under-23 Men's World Championship in 2017 ©IWBF

"The competition calendar in 2021 was already very full before the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, so moving the Under-23 World Championship from 2021 to 2022 will help ensure that the zones can host the relevant qualification tournaments and will assist countries’ preparations."

To be eligible to compete, male players must be born on or after January 1 1999, according IWBF rules.

The IWBF says this policy has not changed to ensure players who would have been eligible in 2021 do not miss out following the rescheduling.

The competition is usually held every four years, with 12 countries participating.

Toronto in Canada staged the 2017 edition where Britain won gold and Japan finished fourth.

Japan will be the first country in Asia to host the competition, which was first held in 1997.