Ten sporting events postponed to 2021

Monday, March 30th, 2020 00:00 |
Tokyo Olympics.

The global spread of the coronavirus has disrupted the sports calendar with many events either cancelled or suspended. Most events were pushed to next year, making 2021’s diary very crowded. Here are some...

1. Tokyo Olympics

The biggest event to fall victim to the coronavirus pandemic, the Tokyo Olympics was among the last to be postponed after it emerged that July 24, the date set for the Games to start, will be too soon.

It was not an easy decision, however, as the International Olympics Committee (IOC) and the Japan government agonised over it for months before they caved in after pressure from stakeholders among them athletes and global leaders.

After Canada and Australia pulled their athletes from the 2020 event, USA threatening to do the same and athletes holed up in their homes unable to train, it became clear that the Olympics will not be held this year hence the decision to push them to 2021.

The Organizing Committee is counting losses as the Games were to be worth $12.6 billion (Sh1.26 trillion).

 to the Japan economy but life supersedes money. 

2. Euro 2020

The European Championship was to take place across 12 courtiers this summer with England, Italy, Germany, Netherlands and Belgium among the nations to host top matches but all that came a cropper due to Covid-19.

With all leagues in Europe suspended indefinitely, European football governing body UEFA put off the tournament to next year to give the leagues and opportunity to finish their campaign when normalcy return.

Key among UEFA’s decision was also to protect the money-spinning Champions League as well as the Europa League which have also been postponed.

UEFA wants both tournaments completed to protect lucrative broadcast contracts they have.

3. World Indoor Championship

The World Indoor Championship was set to take place in Nanjin, China in March but with the country the epicentre of the coronavirus it became the first major event to be cancelled.

World Athletics did not want to move the event to another country or some other date given the crowded calendar and made the decision to postpone it to 2021 so the city would not lose the hosting rights.

The event, which has been losing it’s prestige in the recent past, is held in a closed arena.

 and organisers are hoping to reboot in the Asian continent which draws many fans. 

4. Africa Cross-Country Championship

This event had already been postponed before Covid-19 reared its ugly head forcing another postponement.

Togolese capital Lome was to host the event in late February before it was moved to April 8 at the request of the country’s government which was due to hold hotly-contested elections during that period.

And with countries having conducted trials and selected their teams, the global pandemic hit Africa and started spreading rapidly, making it difficult for athletes to converge for the games.

The event has now been postponed to next year although a definite date is yet to be set.

5. Rome marathon

The Rome marathon was set to take place yesterday in the Italian capital but has now been postponed to next year.

With Italy the hardest hit country in Europe with numbers almost surprising China, the event had to be cancelled as the country deals with the pandemic.

Italy is already under lockdown, having recorded close to 8,000 deaths with all sporting activities cancelled since the start of the month.

6. New York half marathon

Kenya’s Joyciline Jepkosgei was among star names who were to grace the New York half marathon this month.

However, that became impossible when the coronavirus rapidly spread in the United States with New York the epicentre.

Out of the close to 80,000 Covid-19 cases in the US, over 50 per cent is in the Big Apple, making it difficult to hold any public gathering.

Already, New York is among US states under a lockdown over the pandemic. 

7. Paralympic Games

The Paralympic Games were to start in Tokyo, Japan after the Olympics but suffered the same fate.

Most athletes with various forms of disabilities were looking forward to the Games with some qualified and others looking for tickets but will now have to wait until next year. 

8. Africa Athletics Championship

The biggest athletics event in Africa, the continental championship also fell victim of the deadly virus after Confederation of Africa Athletics (CAA) decided to push it to next year still in Algiers, Algeria, who were to host it this year.

The event, initially set for June 24-38, has now been earmarked for the summer of 2021.

Kenya, who emerged tops in the 2018 edition in Asaba, Nigeria, had hoped to send a strong team to use the competition as a warm-up for the Tokyo Olympics.

 and they can apply that strategy again given the Japan Games have also been moved to next year.

9. Copa America

Lionel Messi’s dream to win a title for his beloved Argentina will have to wait a little longer after the Copa America was also postponed from June 2020 to the same period in 2021.

Messi has seen the Copa America slip off his fingers twice after reaching the final in 2015 and 2016 before a semi-final exit last year and he hoped to push on one more time this year.

With the 2022 World Cup in Qatar coming at a time he will be approaching 35, this was his best chance to do it but he will now have to put in extra effort next year if he has to dethrone holders and bitter rivals Brazil.

It will not be easy, however, as Colombia, Uruguay and Chile, winners in both 2015 and 2016, will also be itching to get their hands on the trophy. 

10. Copenhagen marathon

May 17 is the day when elite and amateur athletes were to hit the streets of Copenhagen for the annual race.

However, that will have to wait until next year as Denmark, like the rest of the world, deals with the coronavirus.

The country has recorded close to 2,000 positive cases of the disease and holding a sporting event is the last on their minds right now.

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