Covid19 Affecting Sports

Covid19 Affecting Sports

As the virus spreads across the globe, sports bodies are cancelling or postponing events.

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus, which as of June 28, has killed more than 507,000 people globally, has affected sporting events across the world, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. 

As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide has surged past 10.3 million, major sporting events have been cancelled or postponed.

The most significant one that was due to take place in Japan this summer was the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. However, the International Olympic Committee and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have postponed the event to next year, where it will now take place from July 23 to August 8, 2021.


The London Marathon, which was scheduled to take place on April 26, has been postponed until October 4.

The Boston Marathon, originally scheduled for April 20 and later postponed for five months, has been cancelled for the first time in its 124-year history. 

Organisers said on May 28, that they instead will stage a “virtual event” in which participants who verify that they ran 26.2 miles on their own will receive their finisher’s medal.

Amsterdam, Paris and Barcelona marathons have also been postponed. 

Olympic Games

The International Olympic Committee and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have concluded the Tokyo 2020 Olympics must be postponed.    

The decision was made after holding out for weeks as local organisers and the IOC came under increasing pressure from athletes, national Olympic bodies and sports federations.

The event will now take place from July 23 to August 8, 2021.


The traditional Berlin athletics meeting, ISTAF, will not take place without spectators later this year if coronavirus restrictions remain in place, organisers have said. The 79th edition of the event is scheduled for September 13, but meeting director Martin Seeber said he is planning a potential cancellation and wants a decision by mid-June.

The World Athletics Championships scheduled to take place in Oregon in August 2021 have been pushed back to July 2022 to avoid clashing with the rescheduled Olympic Games, the sport’s governing body said on April 8.

Formula One

Formula One plans to start its season behind closed doors in Austria from July 3-5, followed by the British Grand Prix at Silverstone under similar conditions, but has yet to publish a revised calendar.

The Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix, which was scheduled originally for August 2, can only take place without spectators, organisers said.

The Dutch Grand Prix will have to wait one more year to return to the Formula One circuit after organisers said the race postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic will not take place in 2020.

The race – the fourth to be cancelled this year – at the seaside circuit would have been the country’s first since 1985.

The Azerbaijan Grand Prix scheduled for June 7 has been postponed. 

Formula One cancelled the season-opening Australian GP after a McLaren team member contracted the coronavirus. The race was scheduled to take place on March 15. 

The Bahrain Grand Prix and the Vietnam Grand Prix have been postponed. Those events were first scheduled to take place on March 20-22 and April 3-5 respectively.

Sports Pictures of the Year

The Bahrain Grand Prix in Manama was due to be held without fans before organisers decided to postpone the race [File: Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters]

The Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai, which was scheduled to take place on April 19.


The Indianapolis 500 scheduled for May 24 has been postponed until August 23 and will not run on Memorial Day weekend for the first time since 1946.

The French MotoGP initially scheduled for May 15-17 in Le Mans, was postponed because of the “ongoing coronavirus outbreak”, organisers announced on April 2. Japan will not have a MotoGP round for the first time since 1986 after organisers cancelled the October 18 race at Motegi.


The International Tennis Federation (ITF) said 900 tournaments across all its circuits had been postponed and that it was furloughing half its staff.

The 2020 Wimbledon tennis championships have been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, the All England Club announced on April 1.

It is the first time the championships, due to take place between June 28 and July 11, have been called off since World War II.

The professional tennis tour – men’s and women’s – has been suspended until at least the end of July, with all clay-court tournaments in Europe cancelled. ATP and WTA rankings have been frozen until further notice.


The world boxing heavyweight title fight between Briton Anthony Joshua and the IBF’s mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev of Bulgaria originally scheduled for June 20 has been postponed, promoters said.

The Tokyo Olympic boxing qualifiers for Asia and Oceania were moved to Jordan from China.

However, the European, American and final world qualifying boxing tournaments for the Olympic Games have been suspended, the International Olympic Committee said.

Briton Anthony Joshua’s world heavyweight title defence against Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev would probably take place at the end of the year instead of June 20 at Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium in London as scheduled.


Europe’s top two club basketball competitions have terminated the current season without naming any winners due to the COVID-19 pandemic, organisers EuroLeague Basketball said on May 25. 

“Having explored every possible option, the Executive Board has made the decision to cancel the 2019-20 EuroLeague and EuroCup,” the organising body said on its official Twitter account.

The 2020-21 EuroLeague and EuroCup seasons will start on October 1 and September 30 respectively, said the statement, which added that the same 18 teams that contested this season’s EuroLeague would also compete in the next campaign.

“Without a doubt, this is the most difficult decision we have had to take in our 20-year history,” said EuroLeague’s president and chief executive Jordi Bertomeu.

On May 19, the German basketball league (BBL) has been given permission by the regional Bavarian government to conclude its season   with a 10-team tournament in Munich’s Audi Dome in the first weekend of June.


The opening two rounds of the season in Qatar, which were scheduled for March 6-8, did not go ahead. The Thailand race, due to be held on March 22, has been postponed.

April rounds in Texas and Argentina have been pushed back to November. 

The Spanish Grand Prix scheduled for May 3 has also been postponed. It is the fifth MotoGP race to be cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus.


On May 14, the PGA Tour said testing for the novel coronavirus and daily temperature checks will be a mandatory feature of the return of professional golf in the US on June 11 with the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas. 

The Saudi Ladies International, the first women’s professional golf event to be staged in Saudi Arabia, has been rescheduled for October 8-11 after it was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, organisers have confirmed.

The 2020 Masters Tournament has been provisionally rescheduled for November 12-15, Augusta National Golf Club has said.

The 149th Open Championship due to be played at Royal St George’s from July 16-19 has been cancelled. “The R&A has decided to cancel The Open in 2020 due to the current Covid-19 pandemic,” the governing body said in a statement, adding that “the Championship will next be played at Royal St George’s in 2021”.


The Asian Olympic qualifying event from March 27-29 was moved from Xi’an, China to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

On February 29, Kyrgyzstan withdrew as host.

Horse racing 

The Dubai World Cup, one of the world’s richest horse races and a premier annual sporting event in the United Arab Emirates, scheduled for March 28, has been postponed to next year, Dubai’s government media office tweeted on March 22.

The 146th running of the Kentucky Derby has been moved to September 5. It will be the first time the world-renowned horse race will not run on the first Saturday in May since 1945, when it was moved because of World World II.

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