Many international sporting bodies were in denial about the impact of the Corona epidemic; they have finally woken up
As the viral scourge of Coronavirus swept across the world, national, provincial and local Governments found themselves scrambling to deal with the spread of the deadly infection. However, sporting authorities — from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) — were found with their heads buried in the sand, refusing to accept the impact of the virus on their schedules. While the BCCI relented and postponed the Indian Premier League (IPL) season to mid-April, though it is yet to call off the tournament, the IOC alongside the Tokyo Games organising committee and the Japanese Government persisted with the notion that the games would not be delayed until last week. It was the infection of some athletes at a qualifying tournament in London and the outcry that followed that forced the IOC’s hand. Now, the sporting body and the Japanese Government have announced a year’s delay of the Summer Olympics, which would start July 23, 2021.
While we are living in times, where it is impossible to forecast what will happen by July 2021, one can hope that a cure for the condition is found. Hopefully, a preventive vaccine as well. The postponement of the Games is tragic for athletes, many of whom have spent virtually every waking minute of their lives ever since the flame was extinguished at Rio De Janeiro preparing for the games in Japan. The health and safety of these athletes and the thousands of officials, volunteers and spectators is the overriding concern. This must be at the top of authorities concerned. So a year’s delay gives the authorities enough wiggle room to plan for almost every contingency. The Olympics might be delayed by a year, but it increasingly seems that the BCCI will very shortly have to call off the IPL. Football leagues in Europe will have to plan around how to crown their champions. There is talk of games being played in closed door environment but playing any contact sport would be irresponsible right now. Many fans, particularly of Liverpool Football Club, might be mighty disappointed but the fairest solution right now would be to declare all leagues for all spring and summer sports in 2020 null and void. That may not be fair to clubs like Liverpool but a uniform solution will have to be found as conditions in Europe and the US are not conducive to sports being played at the current time. Thankfully, there are a lot of classic sporting moments available online and some great sports movies and documentaries available to stream in the meantime. Athletes might be disappointed, particularly Indian athletes, who expected to do well in Tokyo, but this is as good a time as any to prepare even harder to win glory next summer, if not this one.
(Courtesy: The Pioneer)