Coronavirus News Africa

HIT LIST | Sports events next in line for possible coronavirus postponement

The coronavirus pandemic has decimated the 2020 sporting calendar,
with the Tokyo Olympics and football’s European Championship the biggest
events to be postponed.

Here follows a look at six of the upcoming major
competitions which could also be cancelled or delayed due to the
Covid-19 outbreak:

Epsom Derby

Scheduled date: June 6

– British racing is in shutdown mode until at least the end of
April, placing doubt on Newmarket’s Guineas weekend on May 2/3, and
inevitably also the jewel in the British flat racing crown, the Epsom

The Blue Riband of the turf has been held every year since Diomed
took the inaugural running in 1780. During the two World Wars it was
moved to Newmarket.

Around 150 000 people descend on the Epsom Downs to watch Britain’s richest race.

Royal Ascot

Scheduled dates: 16-20 June

– British monarch Queen Elizabeth II has only missed attending two
Epsom Derbies since her first visit as a princess in 1946. But she has
never failed to attend her ‘local’ meeting since ascending the throne in

The five day festival draws a 300,000 crowd which consumes 56,000
bottles of champagne and 80,000 cups of tea while out on the track
equine aristocrats joust for prize money in excess of £8 million ($10

Ascot spokesman Nick Smith told The Daily Mail: “There are no
certainties and we are one industry in a world of industries in exactly
the same position. You can plan with optimism but no surety.”

It has been staged every year since 1911. The 2005 meeting moved to York while the racecourse was closed for renovation. 

US Open

Scheduled dates: 18-21 June

– The 120th US Open at Winged Foot is due to be the first men’s
major of the golf season after the postponements of both the Masters and
the PGA Championship.

But American media reports earlier this week said that the tournament
in Mamaroneck, New York was likely to be put back until later in the

The course was closed last week, with the amount of confirmed
Covid-19 cases in the United States since passing 100 000, over 44 000
of which have come in New York state.

Tour de France

Scheduled dates: 27 June – 19 July

– The Tour de France is still scheduled to start in Nice on 27 June,
despite France having extended its lockdown until 15 April.

Sports minister Roxana Maracineanu on Wednesday said that the world’s
most prestigious cycling race, which usually draws more than 10 million
fans to the roadsides, could take place with no spectators.

But she also admitted that all options, including cancellation, are being considered.


Scheduled dates: 29 June – 12 July

– The All England Club will hold an emergency meeting next week to
discuss a possible postponement, or even cancellation, of Wimbledon.

The grass-court Grand Slam tournament has been held every year in
peacetime since 1877, but could now follow the French Open, which saw
its start date pushed back from May to September, in being delayed.

The ATP and WTA tours have been put on hold until at least June 7, wiping out the entire clay-court campaign.

Open Championship

Scheduled dates: 16-19 July

– British media reports on Friday said that the British Open at Royal St George’s could be postponed next week.

Over 200 000 spectators are due to attend the tournament in Sandwich.

A delay could have a knock-on effect on the rest of the golf
calendar, with space at a premium after the postponements of the PGA and
the Masters.

It is highly unlikely that the 149th Open could be held later than
September due to the weather, but a delay until next year would impact
plans to hold the 150th edition at St Andrews.

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