COVID-19 And Its Menacing Shadow On The Sporting Arena

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The outbreak of the coronavirus from China has left the world numbed and left countries struggling to battle the unforeseen and unprecedented crisis. Though it has cast it’s shadow on many areas , the impact has hit hard on the sporting arena too.

Mayhem could be word to describe the current scenario . One of the biggest sporting events the Tokyo Olympics was scheduled to be held this year from 24 July – to August 9 . But due to the virus it has now been rescheduled to 23rd July – August 8 , 2021. Despite the new date there is is question mark whether the games will be on schedule as some media reports suggest, it might not take place in 2021 too . If this hold then the dream of winning the coveted Olympic Gold for many stars will be dashed to the ground.

Wimbledon 2020 has been cancelled much to the dismay and of ageing stars – two icons – Roger Federer and Serena Williams. Federer is 38 , while Serena 38 . Fedex has 20 Grand Slam Singles Titles , While Serena has 23 Grand Slam Singles titles. This break puts a hold to their chances of adding more titles. Had the tour been on and things normal, Spaniard Superstar Rafael Nadal would have had another opportunity to be on par with Roger Federer with 20 Grand Slam titles . Rafa has now 19. Close on his heels is Serbia’s Novak Djokovic with Grand Slam Singles titles. The fascinating contest between the trio is now halted.

The French Open 2020 originally to be played between May 24-June 7, 2020 has been moved to 20 September to October 4. A period when players are used to playing on hard courts in the run- up to the US Open. To have a clay court tournament as French Open is has been criticized heavily by the players. The US Open is scheduled to be played from August 24 – September 13. But given the virus mayhem the tournament is in doubt.

The formula One World Championship 2020 was due to start in March . But due to the coronavirus outbreak has now been postponed till July. Whether the season takes off this year is a big question.

In India , the cash rich Twenty 20 tournament the VIVO IPL 2020 has been suspended till further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown since March 24. IPL this year eager awaited as Indian cricket fans wanted to see how legend Mahendra Singh Dhoni fares for Chennai Super Kings. There has been unending speculation on his retirement and IPL could have been the stage to show whether he still has it in him to play Internationals. The last time he turned out for the national team was the 2019 ICC World Cup semis against New Zealand which India lost by 18 runs. A good showing would have enabled him to stake claim in the India’s T20 World Cup squad for the ICC T20 World Cup scheduled to played in Australia from 18th October – 15th November 2020.

If Dhoni misses out a chance to showcase his skills , then spare a thought too for Indian tennis legend Leander Adrian Paes. To be 47 year-old tennis legend had announced that this year 2020 would be last year on the tour. He had won 18 Grand Slam doubles Titles( eight doubles and ten mixed doubles) and is most successful Davis Cup Player in history with 44 Singles wins.

The post COVID-19 sporting scenario is poised to be completely different . And normal will be long long away . It is not the players will jump into action straight away. They have to be fit. Inside stay and lack of practice have made them rusty. Fitness match practice will be the key then only one can realistically with optimism hope for real action. They will need to adjust to the ‘new normal’ – social distancing, masks, quarantine , use of sanitisers, avoid crowded places , among many things.

The high – fives after taking a wicket or hugs after scoring a goal will have to be re-looked according to the precautions advised. So it will be for while when the sporting arena gets to see a formula one driver whizz past on the race track, a golfer putting his way to glory, striker scoring a goal and batsman scoring hundred or fifty or a bowler taking wicket, a tennis player serving an ace and unleashing a forehand with crowded stadiums applauding with delight. One can only be an optimist and hence keeping fingers crossed with a hope that good times do return soon.

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