With more than 3800 deaths and thousands of people infected, the coronavirus charges on. As governments continue to ponder next steps, sporting bodies across the world prepare for worst-case scenarios, such as suspension of mass public events.
Players and fans continue to hope for the best despite fears that some of the most sought-after tournaments and races could be cancelled until the stranglehold of this virus weakens.
Here’s an update on 6 most-anticipated sporting events across the world through July 2020:
The Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix, 20 March – 22 March 2020
Status: Still on, but limited
With more than 60 cases of COVID-19, Bahrain has decided to make the Formula One Grand Prix a participants-only event. The second round of the season, due to be staged from 20 March 2020 to 22 March 2020, has closed its doors to the public because of the dreaded virus.
A statement from the organisers says that the race will be a televised event. The organisers have also said that rigorous sanitation measures — including social distancing — are in place for the race to take place.
The Gulf nation’s decision to not allow spectators is the latest jolt to the Formula One calendar after the Chinese Grand Prix — scheduled to be held in Shanghai in April — was postponed indefinitely.
For more updates, click here
Milan-Sanremo Cycling Race, 21 March 2020
With 3000 coronavirus cases and more than 100 deaths, Italy has suffered the worst of this crisis among all European countries. RCS Sport has therefore postponed the Milan-Sanremo one-day cycling race — the longest race of the year — which was scheduled for 21 March 2020.
One of cycling’s five classics, the Milan-Sanremo race, along with Paris-Roubaix, the Tour of Flanders, the Tour of Lombardy and Liege-Bastogne-Liege, marks the turn of winter to spring. It begins in Milan in the north with the metaphorical turning point at the top of the Passo del Turchino, and descends to the Ligurian coast to head along to San Remo.
RCS hopes that the International Cycling Union will find new dates for the race, especially since the Strade Bianche — scheduled to be held on 7 March 2020 — was cancelled too.
For more updates, click here
Miami Open, 24 March – 4 April 2020
Now that BNP Paribas Open — which was to be held from 9 March 2020 to 22 March 2020 in California — stands cancelled, all eyes are upon the next high-level tournament: Miami Open.
Miami Open is still on and will be held from 24 March 2020 till 4 April 2020. The tournament saw more than 388,000 spectators descend on Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens last year to see players from over 40 countries give it their best shot.
Though the tournament does face concerns because of its ability to attract massive crowds, a spokesperson for Miami Open announced that the situation is being monitored closely with local, state and federal officials, and health organizations in the lead up to the tournament.
For more updates, follow @MiamiOpen
London Marathon, April 26 2020
Status: Still on
Held annually from 1981, the London Marathon is a long-distance running event that’s one of the top six international marathons run over a distance of 42.195 km.
It’s also a sporting festival, third in England only to the Great North Run and Great Manchester Run in terms of the number of participants. There are big names involved in this year’s run — especially Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge and Brigid Kosgei, the latter becoming the youngest female London winner in 2019.
Scheduled to be held on April 26 in London, will this much-awaited event be postponed or cancelled? The organisers claim to be monitoring the situation closely. It remains to be seen if they would cancel the event or tone it down as The Tokyo Marathon did by limiting the number of entrants.
For more updates, follow @LondonMarathon
Euro 2020, 12 June – 12 July 2020
Status: Still on
This summer’s European Football Championship could land in trouble though the UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) came out strongly confident of its plans to safeguard players and fans last week.
The highly infectious coronavirus has impacted many countries scheduled to co-host the first pan-continental Euros (with Spain joining the UK, Germany, Russia and Italy) — and with rising number of cases and fatalities — the UEFA has left the decision in the hands of local authorities as of now.
One of the world’s leading newspapers reports that the UK government has summoned sports organisations and media bosses to discuss plans for staging sporting events without fans if the crisis worsens.
For more updates, follow @_World_Cup_2018
Tokyo Olympics, 24 July – 9 August 2020
Status: Speculated to be postponed
Scheduled to be held between 24 July 2020 and 9 August 2020, the Tokyo Olympics is one of the largest and most prestigious events of the year.
With 397 people infected by the coronavirus — 60 of them from Tokyo — the Japanese government is in a quandary as to postpone/cancel the country’s most-awaited event or wait to see if the virus weakens by the end of April. Cancellation is bound to impact Japan’s economy hard.
Japan’s Olympics minister has said that the IOC would continue to work with event organisers, and that the final decision will rest with the IOC. His remark that the contract for the games “could be interpreted as allowing a postponement” within calendar 2020 created quite a stir earlier.
For more updates, follow @Tokyo2020