China has turned down the chance for its best figure skaters to compete at this month’s International Skating Union (ISU) World Team Trophy in Osaka.
The Chinese team had qualified for the event, scheduled to be held from April 15 to 18 in the Japanese city.
But the ISU confirmed the Chinese Skating Association decided not to send a team, allowing France to compete instead.
Hosts Japan, Russia, the United States, Canada and Italy are also set to participate in the biennial competition.
Chinese teams have largely skipped international competition so far this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, with table tennis and badminton two cases in point.
The Japanese Government is set to impose new coronavirus restrictions in three prefectures including Osaka from April 5 to May 5 in a bid to curb rising COVID-19 cases.
The move raises question marks over whether ISU World Team Trophy will go ahead as the Olympic Torch Relay leg, scheduled to pass through Osaka on April 13 and 14, has been cancelled due to coronavirus concerns.
A Russian team that features three recently-crowned world champions in Anna Shcherbakova, pair skaters Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov and ice dancers Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov has been announced for the event.
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, Mikhail Kolyada and Evgeni Semenenko have also been included.
Nathan Chen, who claimed his third men's singles gold at the recent World Figure Skating Championships in Swedish capital Stockholm, headlines the US squad.
He is joined by Jason Brown, Karen Chen, Bradie Tennell, pair skaters Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier and ice dancers Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker.
Japan will send two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu and Olympic silver medallist Shoma Uno as well as two-time Four Continents champion Rika Kihira, Kaori Sakamoto, pair skaters Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara and ice dancers Misato Komatsubara and Tim Koleto.
Canada's team is led by Nam Nguyen and features 2017 world bronze medalilst Gabrielle Daleman, Roman Sadovsky, Alison Schumacher, pair skaters Lori-Ann Matte and Thierry Ferland and ice dancers Carolane Soucisse and Shane Firus.
The Italian team comprises Matteo Rizzo, Daniel Grassl, Lara Naki Gutmann and Ginevra Lavinia Negrallo as well as 2019 European ice dance bronze medallists Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri and pair skaters Nicole Della Monica and Matteo Guarise.
Last year’s ISU Grand Prix Final bronze medallist Kévin Aymoz leads France.
Adam Siao Him Fa, Maïa Mazzara and Léa Serna, along with pair skaters Cléo Hamon and Denys Strekalin and ice dancers Adelina Galyavieva and Louis Thauron, complete the French squad.
Each skater or duo can earn a maximum of 12 points courtesy of their performances in the short programme or rhythm dance and free skating or free dance.
The standings are based on the total team points achieved in each phase of the event.
The last edition of the ISU World Team Trophy was held in Fukuoka in Japan in 2019 where the US were crowned champions.
Japan finished second with Russia claiming bronze.