Coronavirus fears quell attendance, many sports events cancelledThe Social Media Company
From the postponement of the Euro 2020 football tournament to the announcement that SA Rugby would be suspending all competitive rugby matches and training camps, the novel coronavirus has wreaked havoc on the 2020 sporting calendar.
Following recommendations and decrees forbidding large gatherings of people, many sporting bodies have opted to postpone, reschedule or cancel some of the most popular global sporting events.
Locally, president Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement that COVID-19 has led to a state of emergency in the country also resulted in the prohibition of events attended by 100 people or more. As such, some of the country’s biggest sporting events will not take place on the dates they were scheduled for.
Here are some of the most prominent local sporting events that have been affected so far.
The governing body of the sport in the country, SA Rugby, announced that all alignment camps and national team training would be suspended, along with the suspension of business travel.
Former head coach and now Director of Rugby at SA Rugby, Rassie Erasmus, said that alternative preparation options will ensure that the national rugby teams still get a chance to get ready for the season.
“Nothing beats sitting around a table or running around on the training field, but this is not a unique situation to us here in South Africa and without going into too much detail, we can confirm that the work has not stopped and we are hard at work preparing for our forthcoming tests, other matches or tournaments,” said Erasmus.
Following an urgent meeting after the president’s address on 15 March, PSL chairperson Irvin Khoza announced the suspension of all matches in the Absa Premiership, GladAfrica Championship and Multichoice Diski Challenge. However, scheduled PSL matches are set to continue for the time being, albeit without spectators.
The Proteas arrived back in the country on 18 March, after a scheduled three-match ODI test series against India was postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak. The 16-man squad will now be in self-isolation for at least 14 days. The scheduled Indian Premier League, in which a number of local players were set to participate, has also been postponed to 15 April.
In an unprecedented move, the annual Two Oceans Marathon, which would have taken place on Saturday, 11 April, has been cancelled. Other associated events, including the half marathon, fun runs and the Cape Town International Friendship Run, have also been cancelled.
The Two Oceans is one of the key events leading up to the Comrades Marathon, which is still set to be held on 14 June, with a final decision regarding the 95th iteration of one of the world’s most popular marathon-running events expected on 17 April.
On 16 March, Athletics South Africa announced the immediate postponement of all athletics events in the country for 30 days, including school, club and provincial events, and all ASA championships. Depending on infections at the time, ASA will make further announcements in this regard on 15 April.
The president of parkrun South Africa, Bruce Fordyce, announced on 18 March that all parkrun events across South Africa, Namibia and Eswatini would be closed with immediate effect until at least the end of March, and likely through April.