Interesting times ahead for sports in the wake of COVID-19


Interesting times ahead for sports in the wake of COVID-19

The Sporting EDGE

Paul Reid

Thursday, April 09, 2020

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Although virologists and those other scientists tracking the COVID-19 pandemic say there is really no real timetable for when things will get back to normal, that hasn't stopped persons, including sports organisers, from planning for the near future.

This, even as a lot of countries and cities are still seeing daily death counts of hundreds, and it is expected that things are to get worse, before they get better.

Already, the International Olympic Committee has set new dates for the Tokyo 2020 games that will now be held in 2021; World Athletics had already set new dates in March 2021 for the World Indoors Championships in Nanjing, China, while the European football bosses have been throwing around dates between June and August for the restart of the respective football leagues.

From time immemorial, sports has been the distraction mankind has relied on as a respite from the cut and thrust of life, except when sports itself is the cause of hostilities.

But with sports taken away due to the current pandemic, that has added to the seeming unbearable wait for things to return to where they were prior to the start of the spread of the disease.

And it's the not knowing when the wait will end is the worse part, as had there been a date to aim at, a finish line so to speak, it would make the waiting easier, to some extent.

As I said in this space recently, the postponement of sporting events, such as the European football leagues, the NBA, the NHL, Major League baseball, could see the blurring of the carefully defined lines between the respective seasons, and maybe even shorter off seasons.

Three major continental football championships — the Euros, as we all as the South American and CONCACAF and the Olympics — have been moved from 2020, and will add to the congestion next year, if we are safely out of the coronavirus pandemic, that is.

For track and field, the postponement of the World Indoors and the Olympic Games by a year, will see a domino effect on other global track and field championships, and could result in four -straight years of track and field, instead of the normal three years on, and one year off, cycle.

While no decision has been made on the fate of the World Under-20 track and field championships set for Nairobi, Kenya, as yet, with the moving of the Olympics to July/August of 2021, the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon will now be moved one year forward to 2022, with the 2023 staging in Budapest, set to be held on their original dates.

And there will have to be some accommodations made for the 2022 Commonwealth Games set for Birmingham, England. If it is to try and avoid a clash with the World Championships, then some skillfull scheduling could be in the offing.

All this adds up to exciting times for the athletes who would have missed out on earning this year, as they will have back-to-back years of top quality championships to aim at.

It will also be a thrill for the fans, as well, to avoid the down year when there is no major championships.

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