Coronavirus stops reggae in Hong Kong, Singapore

Friday, February 14th, 2020 00:00 |
Kenya Sevens players perform a celebratory jig after winning the Singapore Sevens tournament in April 2016. Photo/FILE

Amos Abuga and Alex Njue

Kenya Sevens captain Andrew Amonde says the postponement of the Hong Kong and Singapore legs might be a blessing in disguise for the team as it will give them enough time to prepare for the July 24-August 9, Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

Hong Kong and Singapore Sevens were postponed from April to October over the coronavirus yesterday, joining the Chinese Grand Prix, golf and football fixtures on the growing list of sporting casualties.

Amonde says the event being staged on a later date doesn’t really affect a lot of things but should rather they shape up for the Olympics.

“As players, it can work to our advantage because there will be a lot of time to get in good shape for Tokyo.

Players should look at this in a positive way,” said Amonde, whose team is currently training for the Los Angeles and Vancouver legs of the World Series set to take place at the end of this month. 

However, World Sevens Series second ll-time top try scorer Collins Injera is not happy at the decision. “A lot of players I know enjoy playing in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Those are great legs with electric atmosphere. It also helps a lot in the overall rankings. But overall, I think it is a good decision because the health aspect overrides everything,” he said.

Kenya Rugby Union chairman Oduor Gangla says the changes will force them to set a new date for the Safari Sevens which was slated for October 23-25. 

“It’s disruptive to the season but understandable. The new dates will force us to review the Safari Sevens because it is our home tournament and Shujaa really love to play at home.

We will also have a sitting with the technical bench and plan on how to make the best out of the extended rest period after the Los Angeles and Vancouver legs,” said Gangla Oduor. 

The flagship Hong Kong Sevens was scheduled for April 3-5, with Singapore a week later. Both cities are scrambling to deal with the virus, with 50 confirmed cases each and one death in Hong Kong.

The Singapore tournament will now take place on October 10-11 and Hong Kong a week later on October 16-18, concluding the 10-stop world series.

The COVID-19 death toll leapt to 1,367 yesterday with nearly 60,000 infections in China, where the virus is thought to have emerged in the city of Wuhan.

The Hong Kong Sevens, an annual springtime fixture since 1976, is an important source of revenue and prestige for a city which has plunged into recession following months of pro-democracy protests and the US-China trade war.

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