The world's leading sporting competitions have been halted amid the coronavirus pandemic.

With almost 160,000 confirmed cases of the virus and close to 6,000 deaths, athletes across the globe are waiting to learn when they will return to work.

We take a look at the provisional return dates set out so far.
 

BASKETBALL

The NBA came to a sudden stop when a Utah Jazz player - later revealed to be Rudy Gobert - tested positive on Wednesday, and league commissioner Adam Silver warned the hiatus would "be most likely at least 30 days".

CRICKET

International cricket has been pushed back, but there are no firm dates as things stand for rescheduled matches. England's two-match Test tour of Sri Lanka was called off midway through a warm-up match, while the ODI series between India and South Africa was postponed after the first of three matches was washed out. Australia won an opening ODI against New Zealand behind closed doors, but the remaining two 50-over matches were delayed, along with a three-match Twenty20 series. There is at least a provisional date for the Indian Premier League to belatedly start: April 15, pushed back from March 29.

FOOTBALL

European football is at a standstill, with the Champions League among the elite-level competitions suspended. UEFA is set to meet to discuss the future of that tournament and Euro 2020 this week, while FIFA has advised postponements of upcoming international fixtures, for which clubs are no longer required to release their players. The Premier League, LaLiga and Serie A are all paused at least until April 3 although the Bundesliga has only called off one matchweek as things stand, while Ligue 1 is off "until further notice".

GOLF

The PGA Tour initially announced a three-week suspension, with The Players Championship stopped after its opening round. The Masters - won in 2019 by Tiger Woods - was therefore set to mark the Tour's return on April 9, but organisers soon announced the first major of the year would also be postponed. The RBC Heritage on April 16 is the next scheduled tournament. Organisers are planning "regular status updates in the coming weeks" amid "a very fluid situation that requires constant review, communication, and transparency".

MOTORSPORT

The Formula One season is still to start after races in Australia, Bahrain, Vietnam and China were postponed or cancelled. The Dutch Grand Prix on May 3 remains on at this stage, however, while managing director of motorsports Ross Brawn has suggested the calendar could be reshuffled, with races held in August. NASCAR has postponed events in Atlanta and Miami this and next weekend, and all IndyCar Series races through April have been cancelled.

RUGBY

Rugby league has largely been able to continue both in England and in Australia, but the same is not true of rugby union. Six Nations matches were among the first to fall by the wayside amid the crisis in Italy, with the Azzurri seeing matches against both Ireland and England postponed until later in the year. France versus Ireland was off, too, while Scotland's trip to Wales belatedly followed suit. Club action has ground to a halt, with Super Rugby finally paused this weekend and no return imminent.

TENNIS

After Indian Wells and then the Miami Open were cancelled, the ATP Tour announced its suspension up to and including the week of April 20. The WTA Tour preferred to call off individual events, but the schedule is now clear for five weeks. It was still to make a decision on the European clay-court season. The Fed Cup finals and play-offs - set for mid-April - have been pushed back, meanwhile, with the ITF vowing to address any impact the postponement may have on players' eligibility for Tokyo 2020.

OTHERS

Despite chaos surrounding various sports across the globe, Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe says the country is still planning for the Olympic Games in Tokyo to go ahead as scheduled in July. The London Marathon and the Boston Marathon will both still go ahead this year, but with revised dates of October 4 and September 14, respectively. The Giro d'Italia will be postponed and a new date for the race will not be announced until at least April 3 when a decree in Italy banning sport ends. The NBA is not the only American competition to be disrupted, meanwhile, with the 2020 MLB season moved back "at least two weeks" from March 26, and the NHL campaign paused indefinitely.

Jamaica’s Kemoy Campbell underwent surgery on Friday to replace the Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) that saved him in a near-death experience on Tuesday.

The sporting calendar over the next few weeks looks extremely bare as events continue to be postponed or cancelled as a result of the threat of the coronavirus.

All of Europe's top five leagues have now been suspended, as the Bundesliga followed Serie A, LaLiga, Ligue 1 and the Premier League in calling a halt to proceedings just hours before its latest round of fixtures was due to kick off.

Golf's first major, the Masters, will not take place on April 9 as initially scheduled, while the Giro d'Italia, the final Six Nations match between Wales and Scotland, and marathons in London and Boston have all been affected by COVID-19, too.

With the number of confirmed cases worldwide now totalling over 140,000, we take a look at the latest round of postponements.

 

After the PGA Tour cancelled all events leading up the Masters, all eyes were on whether the prestigious event at Augusta National Golf Club would be called off until further notice. That news arrived on Friday, with organisers saying it was "appropriate under these unique circumstances".

With around four hours to go before the first Bundesliga game of matchday 26, the league was finally suspended due to the growing number of COVID-19 cases in Germany.

Defender Timo Hubers, who plays for 2. Bundesliga side Hannover, was one of the first players across Europe to test positive for the virus, and Paderborn, who had been due to Fortuna Dusseldorf on Friday night, were waiting on tests results for their players when news came down from the league.

Clubs will meet again on Monday, with the league advising a suspension until April 2.

World Cup qualifiers in Africa were suspended, while European clubs such as Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona have stopped their players from training at their facilities for the time being.

As Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba encouraged people to "dab to beat coronavirus" and Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp backed the decision to postpone the Premier League, Serie A clubs Sampdoria and Fiorentina reported positive cases involving their players in Italy, one of the worst-affected countries.

The country's major cycling race, the Giro d'Italia, will not begin as scheduled on May 9 as Hungary said it was unwilling to host the first three stages. The whole race was subsequently postponed.

Six Nations contest between Italy and England in Rome, originally slated for Saturday, had already been called off, and the only fixture of the tournament not to be postponed was put back indefinitely on Friday. Wales' clash with Scotland in Cardiff was finally called off the day before it was set to take place, while Sunday's Premiership Rugby Cup final between Sale Sharks and Harlequins has also been postponed.

South Africa's ODI tour of India will be rescheduled for another time, the first match having been washed out on Thursday, while the Boston Marathon will now take place on September 14. The new date for the London Marathon is October 4.

Elsewhere, NASCAR has postponed races in Atlanta and Miami over the next two weekends. Those races were initially going to be held without fans. All IndyCar Series races through April have been cancelled.

Caster Semenya is switching to the 200 metres ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics following a rule change that could have affected her 800m title defence.

The 29-year-old won 800m gold at the 2012 and 2016 Games but athletics' world governing body, the IAAF, has introduced rules that mean Semenya and other athletes with differences of sexual development must either take testosterone-reducing medication to compete at track events from 400m to the mile, or switch to another distance.

Semenya disputed the implementation of those rules but lost a challenge in the Court of Arbitration for Sport and then in an appeal to the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland.

Now, four months out from the Olympics, Semenya has revealed she will bid to make it to the Games in Japan as a 200m athlete.

"Ever since I saw the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games on television, I have known that I want to compete on the Olympic stage," the South African said in an Instagram post.

"My first international 800m medal came as a junior at the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games in India, and over the next 11 years I have won gold at every major international competition including the Olympic Games, World Championships, Commonwealth Games, Diamond League and African Championships.

"However, as you are all aware, I am unable to compete in the 800m and defend my title at the Tokyo Olympic Games later this year.

"My dream has always been, and will continue to be, to compete at the highest level of sport, and so in order to pursue my goals and dreams, I have decided to change events, and compete in the 200m.

"This decision has not been an easy one, but as always, I look forward to the challenge, and will work hard, doing all I can to qualify for Tokyo and compete to the best of my ability for South Africa.

"Thank you to my team who have supported me over the past few months, and thank you to all South Africans who believe in me and stand behind me."

The qualifying time to reach the 200m in Tokyo is 22.80 seconds, with Semenya's current personal best over that distance 24.26s.

The London Marathon has followed the Boston Marathon in postponing the 2020 race because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement, London Marathon organisers announced the race had been pushed back from April 26 to October 4.

That decision comes after those in charge of the Boston Marathon opted to move that event from April 20 to September 14.

Hugh Brasher, event director for the London Marathon, said: "The world is in an unprecedented situation grappling with a global pandemic of COVID-19 and public health is everyone's priority.

"We know how disappointing this news will be for so many – the runners who have trained for many months, the thousands of charities for which they are raising funds and the millions who watch the race every year.

"The 40th race is scheduled to go ahead on Sunday 4 October 2020.

“We know that there will be many, many questions from runners, charities and others and we ask you to please bear with us as we work through the detailed planning process to deliver the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon on its new scheduled date." 

The 2020 Carifta Games that were scheduled to be held in Hamilton, Bermuda, from April 10-13 has been postponed until further notice because of the threat of the spread of the Coronavirus.

Just over a year after he collapsed at the Millrose Games in New York, Jamaica’s Kemoy Campbell experienced another harrowing experience on Tuesday; this time while driving.

The Kingston City Marathon, scheduled for  Sunday, has been cancelled because of the increasing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, Covid-19.

The cancellation came a day after Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton, announced Jamaica’s first case of the Covid-19, an imported one.

Tufton made the announcement during a press conference at his ministry’s New Kingston offices where he said that "public gatherings are being discouraged at this time, as well as non-essential travel."

Jamaica has since recorded another imported case, with a second press conference from the minister.

Nicola Madden Greig, Co-chair of Kingston City Marathon, which benefits several local charities said that “all was in place for the eighth staging of the annual event this Sunday. However, we are mindful of our responsibility to comply with the mandates of the Ministry of Health as we all work to prevent the potential for community spread of the Coronavirus.

“We have taken the difficult decision after serious deliberations. While we know everyone was excited to participate in this year’s event, the health and safety of all our participants are paramount."

The Kingston City Marathon, which includes a marathon, half marathon, 10K and 5K race/walk, annually attracts over 5,000 participants and spectators from several Caribbean islands and other countries including Ireland, the UK, Denmark, Japan, Spain, Canada, China and the USA.

Apart from walking or running, the scenic Kingston route takes participants through public attractions such as Devon House and the residence of the Governor General  at Kings House.

The 2020 ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Championships have been cancelled because of the COVID-19 virus that has been categorized as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The cancellation comes on the heels of Tuesday’s announcement that a Jamaican woman tested positive for the virus after arriving on the island on March 4.

Stakeholders of the 110-year-old championships - the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA), sponsors GraceKennedy, the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health – met Wednesday to determine the fate of the championships that like many other sporting events, were being threatened by the spread of the virus that has infected more than 121,000 people globally and killing over 4000.

On Tuesday, there was an indication that the championships were under threat of being cancelled when the organisers agreed to cancel the launch of five-day event that was to be held at the National Stadium in Kingston.

“We agreed that the appropriate measure at this time would be to postpone tomorrow’s launch, and proceed with further discussions about what action should be taken in terms of the actual event,” said ISSA President, Keith Wellington, who also revealed that was also in discussion with its associated sponsors.

 Title sponsors also took a position that suggested that a cancellation was the most appropriate measure to take that would be in the best interests of all concerned.

 “The Health Ministry has announced that infection prevention and control is a priority at this time,” said GraceKennedy Group CEO, Don Wehby in a statement Tuesday.

 “We take COVID-19 very seriously and are concerned about the health and wellness of the student-athletes and all involved in the execution of Champs, as well as the implications for the 35,000 persons in attendance at the National Stadium especially during the last two days. This is a decision we will be making in the nation’s best interest.”

 

 

Jamaica will not be sending athletes to the annual Penn Relays in Philadelphia out of concern for the safety of its athletes, who run the risk of being exposed to the deadly COVID-19 virus, Jamaica's health minister announced on Tuesday.

Concerns regarding the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus has led to the postponement of the 2020 Grenada Invitational, organisers said in a statement today.

The ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships that is scheduled for the National Stadium from March 24-28 could be held without spectators.

That is according to Dr Warren Blake, President of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA).

Blake, a medical practitioner since 1976, said that this could happen if the feared coronavirus that is sweeping the globe reaches Jamaica. He was asked about the likely impact of the virus on Champs and the upcoming Jamaica International Invitational Meet during an interview on trackalerts.com live stream of the Carifta Trials on Sunday at the National Stadium.

“It (the coronavirus) is going to have a negative impact on events if/when it comes to Jamaica. If it comes before these events, the health authorities will have to sit down, look at the number of cases, where they are, and take the serious decision whether to allow a crowd like the size of Champs to come together, to put 35,000 people into our National Stadium when some of them might be infected,” Blake said.

He added that “This is really going to be a watch and see (situation). It could be possible that Champs could go ahead without spectators in the stands because of the danger of putting large crowds of people together.

“It’s hard to say what will happen but it (the assessment) has to be on a day-to-day basis. When it comes to a cut-off point then the hard decision will have to be made”.

Apart from the thousands of Jamaicans who flock to the stadium each year to watch the five-day spectacle unfold, a sizeable foreign media contingent religiously covers the event.

Blake also suggested that upcoming track and field events in the United States are likely to be affected in large part because of a “lack of testing” in that country which he asserted has caused the virus to now be “out of hand."

“They (the US authorities) are not calling it so, but I can tell you that the outbreak is now out-of-hand in America,” Blake insisted.

According to the JAAA boss, in New York, where a state of emergency was declared on Saturday, “400 doctors and nurses have placed themselves in self-isolation because they have come in contact with coronavirus cases."

“The maxim is that if you test, you’ll find them (coronavirus cases) and America has not been testing,” Blake stated.

The veteran medical doctor noted that it is estimated that if you have one untested individual carrying the virus, that person has the potential to infect over 3,000 new cases. “So I think that it’s really out-of-hand in America and it’s only a matter of time before it reaches Jamaica."

Regarding the Tokyo Olympics, which is scheduled to get underway in July and which is increasingly doubtful, Blake said he has been encouraging athletes to continue training.

He noted that if the event is cancelled, professional athletes would be hit hard.

“All the athletes I’ve spoken to have expressed concern because that’s how they earn their living. They’re professional athletes so they’re going all out to prepare themselves as if the Olympics is taking place and they’re concerned that their preparation might come to nought."

Trinidad and Tobago 200-metre specialist Jereem Richards believes The Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan this year provides his best chance for a medal but worries it won’t happen courtesy of the Coronavirus.

Richards, in the last three years, has become one of T&T’s most notable sprinters, earning a bronze medal at the 2017 World Championships in London, before joining the 4x400-metre team that claimed gold at the same games. He also won the Commonwealth Games 200 metres in 2018, and believes he is rounding into form nicely ahead of the Olympics.

With the announcement that if Coronavirus fears makes hosting the Olympics in July an impossibility, there won’t be a postponement but rather a cancellation, Richards believes his best chance of medaling in his career to date, would have gone.

“I will be very disappointed (if it is cancelled) because I am currently 26 and my next Olympics after this one I will be 30, so this one I think I would have had my best chance to get a medal,” said Richards.

Despite the uncertainty, the importance of this particular Olympics to his career means Richards can’t afford to let up and won’t, whatever the fate of the meet.

“Leading into Tokyo I am still going to prepare the same way I was preparing...if it is cancelled or not, I am still going to work hard the same way and hope for the best. Hopefully the coronavirus is under control and we would be able to go there and perform, but, if not, I would still be in good shape to compete in whatever other meets that is safe for me to attend.”

The media fraternity has been plunged into mourning following news of the passing of veteran photographer, Bryan Cummings.

Cummings, who had been ailing with cancer for a while, died on Friday. He was 56.

Cummings was renowned for covering track and field events locally and internationally. 

He is remembered for his distinguished coverage of the Olympics and the World Championships.

Cummings joined the Jamaica Observer in 1994. Prior to that, he worked at the Jamaica Information Service.

The Guyanese-born Cummings represented his alma mater, Munro College, in track and field.

The Tokyo Olympics could theoretically be postponed until later in 2020 if the spread of coronavirus worsens, Japan's Olympics minister has said.

The virus has caused several scheduling headaches for the sporting calendar, having spread to more than 60 countries.

The Games are due to take place between July 24 and August 9 and International Olympics Committee president Thomas Bach stated last week the organisation is still planning to go ahead with the event as scheduled.

When asked in parliament about the potential for a postponement, Seiko Hashimoto – Japan's Olympics minister – said "the contract calls for the Games to be held within 2020".

She added that "could be interpreted as allowing a postponement".

Several sporting events have been rearranged in a bid to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, including the World Athletics Indoor Championships that were due to take place between March 13 and 15 in Nanjing.

In football, Serie A cancelled several fixtures over the previous two weekends and all Swiss Super League and Challenge League fixtures have been suspended, while the Ireland versus Italy Six Nations match due to take place in Dublin on Saturday was called off.

The Chinese Grand Prix on April 19 was also postponed.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.