Coronavirus: Here’s what’s happening in the sports world on Thursday

The latest on how the coronavirus outbreak is affecting sports around the globe:

  • Baseball Canada cancels all 2020 national championships
  • Prague going forward with track meet in June
  • Germany to test for doping if soccer season resumes
  • Japan unlikely to allow fans for baseball, soccer
  • More Diamond League events scrapped
  • UEFA moves women’s championship to 2022
  • Pro tennis player says season shouldn’t resume until 2021

Baseball Canada cancels 11 national championships 

Baseball Canada has cancelled all its 2020 national championships due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision announced Thursday affects 11 national tournaments, from the Baseball Canada Cup, originally scheduled for Aug. 5-9 in Fort McMurray, Alta., through the U13 National Atlantic Championships from Sept. 17-20 in St. John’s, N.L.

The list of scuttled events includes the Men’s Championship, Aug. 27-30 in Sydney, N.S., and the Women’s Invitational, Aug. 20-23, in Stonewall, Man.

Baseball Canada said in a release that the health and safety of organizers, athletes and fans was the priority in arriving at the decision.

Baseball Canada said individual provincial members will decide the course of their seasons and associated provincial tournaments on their own.

Prague track meet to honour former Olympian

The one-year postponement of the Tokyo Olympics has inspired organizers of a track meet in the Czech Republic to go ahead with their event in June, albeit with limits on athletes and events.

The Josef Odlozil Memorial in Prague will be staged as planned on June 8 but with only 50-60 competitors because of restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic, meet director Miroslav Sevcik told The Associated Press on Thursday.

The meet is named after middle-distance runner Josef Odlozil, who won the silver medal in the 1,500 metres at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

Odlozil’s success at those games served as an inspiration after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics were postponed last month for one year because of the pandemic, Sevcik said.

The plan is to compete in only a handful of events, including the men’s 100, 200, 1,500, 110 hurdles, long jump and javelin, and the women’s 800 and javelin. Further details are expected to be released in early May.

German soccer league hopes to resume in May

The German anti-doping agency says it plans to test soccer players if the season resumes in empty stadiums.

NADA spokeswoman Eva Bunthoff tells The Associated Press the agency has “developed concepts” for urine and blood tests at games.

The German league hopes to resume next month after a two-month shutdown because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Bunthoff adds the agency is talking with the German soccer federation and the men’s league. She says “most important are the security measures to make sure there is a proper prevention system in place to prevent infections with the virus.”

Japanese officials agree sports should resume without fans

It’s still not clear when baseball or soccer will resume in Japan but it will likely be without fans when it does.

That was the decision when the heads of Japanese professional baseball and soccer met in online meetings.

Japanese baseball commissioner Atsushi Saito says “my feelings that I want to start the season without spectators haven’t changed.”

Baseball and soccer officials both agreed nothing could begin until a state of emergency was lifted in Japan. The earliest that can happen is May 6. They are expected to wait until that date before moving forward.

The J-League’s top two soccer divisions were suspended in February. Japanese baseball played some preseason games without fans before all play was stopped.

9 of 15 Diamond League events now in jeopardy

Three more Diamond League meetings will not go ahead as scheduled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon, on June 7 and the meet in Paris on June 13 have both postponed with no new dates set. The Bislett Games in Oslo on June 11 will be rebranded as the Impossible Games and turned into an exhibition event.

The first nine scheduled events of the 15-meet season have all now either been postponed, rescheduled or downgraded. The Anniversary Games in London on July 4 are now the earliest scheduled competition of the season.

UEFA shuffles championship schedule

UEFA has postponed next year’s women’s European Championship soccer tournament to July 2022.

The UEFA executive committee decided the new dates for the 16-nation tournament in England will be July 6-31.

The switch was made after UEFA and the IOC decided last month on one-year postponements for Euro 2020 and the Tokyo Olympics. Britain, the Netherlands and Sweden will play in the women’s soccer tournament at the Olympics.

Wembley Stadium in London will stage both the men’s and women’s European finals.

UEFA says the rescheduled women’s tournament will retain the same 10 stadiums. It opens with England playing at Old Trafford in Manchester.

Ons Jabeur says tennis should remain on pause until 2021

The tennis season stalled by the COVID-19 pandemic should only resume next March and tournaments that have already been completed this year should not be played in the 2021 season, Australian Open quarter-finalist Ons Jabeur said.

Professional tennis has been suspended since March due to the coronavirus outbreak when Indian Wells became the first major tournament to be canceled. The ATP and WTA Tours said the hiatus will continue at least until mid-July.

Tunisian Jabeur, the first Arab woman to reach the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam, said resuming the season later this year was not ideal as it would not be fair when calculating ranking points.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea to start the season this year. Start the season again next year in March,” Jabeur said in Eurosport’s Tennis Legends vodcast.

“Don’t start by playing the Australian Open since we already played it this year … start from Indian Wells, where everybody stopped. It’s fair for the other Grand Slams, it’s fair for the points and for everything.”

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