Weekly Digest (Mar 23-29): From Tokyo Olympics postponement to F1 uniting for coronavirus aid

Here are the major sports updates from the week (March 23 to 29) gone by, from Tokyo Olympics postponement to F1 uniting to aid in coronavirus treatment.

Japan's Prime Minister and the head of the International Olympic Committee agreed to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Games by a year, as the world battles the coronavirus pandemic.   -  AP

Sport across the world has been hit hard by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as the Tokyo Olympics were officially postponed to 2021 and various athletes and teams around the world joining hands to fight the virus.

Here are the major updates from the week gone by:

- CRICKET -

The International Cricket Council has postponed all qualifying events that were scheduled to be held before June 30, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. (REPORT)

Steve Smith’s two-year leadership ban ended quietly on Sunday (March 29), leaving him eligible again to captain Australia at a time of uncertainty over when international cricket will resume. (REPORT)

In an unusual move, South Africa off-spinner Dane Piedt is giving up his career in the ICC elite member nation and will move to the USA, with dreams of guiding the associate into a World Cup one day. Piedt, who has played nine times for South Africa, will leave for the United States in the next few months to be part of the new Minor League T20 tournament, which is due to launch this summer. (REPORT)

England women’s cricket team captain Heather Knight has joined the National Health Service as volunteer to help the healthcare system fight the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom. The 29-year-old Knight will help in transporting medicines and spreading awareness about the pandemic in the U.K. (REPORT)

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Sport coming to a standstill owing to the COVID-19 pandemic is a “welcome rest” for India cricketers, feels head coach Ravi Shastri, who has spent barely a few days at home since leaving for the World Cup last May. (REPORT)

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the Indian Premier League could be postponed or cancelled, but M. S. Dhoni could return to action in India colours, says his childhood coach Keshav Ranjan Banerjee. Banerjee remains hopeful that Dhoni will be picked for the T20 World Cup. (REPORT)

James Anderson has vowed that the coronavirus outbreak will not bring a premature end to his illustrious England career. (REPORT)

 

- FOOTBALL-

Juventus players and manager Maurizio Sarri agreed this week to take a pay cut for the next four months with the Serie A suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. (REPORT)

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said the European football season, most of which has been suspended due to coronavirus outbreak, can still be saved. He cited mid-May, June or late-June as a time when the season could be resumed. (REPORT)

West Ham United's vice-chairwoman Karen Brady said as many as eight of the club's players had shown symptoms of Covid-19, though she warned no one should be complacent. (REPORT)

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La Liga giant Barcelona said on Saturday it had delivered 30,000 masks to the Catalonia government to combat the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed more than 6000 as of Sunday. (REPORT)

Australian players's union threatened legal action against A-League club Perth Glory, which stood down its players without pay with the season having been suspended after a match on Monday. (REPORT)

-HOCKEY-

Isolated swimming, tennis with a saucepan England's hockey player Samuel Ward has posted a bunch of hilarious videos of what he calls “Isolated Olympics” on social media to deal with postponed Olympics. (REPORT)

Belgium men’s hockey team captain Thomas Briels said that postponing the Tokyo Olympics to 2021 was the right thing to do, keeping in mind the health and safety of everyone involved. (REPORT)

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Hockey India has announced that it will set systems in place for both women's and men's teams' preparations to be on track for the postponed Tokyo Olympics in 2021. (REPORT)

The FIH has withdrawn any geo-blocking on its online streaming platform for the last two seasons of the Pro League in its bid to increase engagements with the fans during the COVID-19 lockdown. (REPORT)

-MOTORSPORT-

The Formula One 2020 season saw its eighth race being affected after the Azerbaijan GP was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. (READ)

F1 constructor McLaren has confirmed all its team personnel who were in self-isolation after being tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the Australian GP, have returned home. (READ)

Seven UK-Based F1 teams, namely Red Bull, Racing Point, Mercedes, Haas, McLaren, Renault and Williams, have come together to manufacture medical devices to help aid in the treatment of patients who have contracted the coronavirus. (READ)

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The first eight Grands Prix of the current season have all been cancelled or postponed and F1 is considering cutting the number of races from 22 to 15.   -  REUTERS

 

In MotoGP, the Spanish GP, which was scheduled for May 3, was postponed too. (READ)

- SHOOTING -

Confined to their homes owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, India’s marksmen and women will soon be provided with shooting range simulators -- SIUS Ascor’s electronic target systems -- which will allow them to practice indoors efficiently. (READ)

The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) has postponed the selection trials for rifle and pistol scheduled to be held at the Dr. Karni Singh Range, Tughlakabad, in April. (READ)

- TENNIS -

Novak Djokovic is donating one million Euros to help Serbia buy respirators and other gear to combat the coronavirus. (READ)

Roger Federer has pledged to donate one million Swiss francs to help the most vulnerable families in Switzerland during the coronavirus pandemic. (READ)

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Young Brazilian tennis star Thiago Seyboth Wild announced on Wednesday that he had tested positive for coronavirus. (READ)

Wimbledon management will hold an emergency meeting next week to decide if this year's tournament will go ahead. (READ)

- BADMINTON-

Badminton's top official has hit back at “very disappointing” criticism after the sport was accused of putting profits before players by allowing the All England Championship to go ahead during the coronavirus crisis. (REPORT)

World champion shuttler P.V. Sindhu on Thursday donated Rs. 5 lakh each to the Chief Minister’s Relief Funds of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh to fight the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed over 21,000 lives globally. (REPORT)

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The Badminton World Federation (BWF) on Wednesday said it might freeze the world rankings for a while as it works on a “fair solution” to the Olympic qualification process after the COVID-19 pandemic forced a postponement of the Tokyo Games. (REPORT)

-ATHLETICS -

In an extraordinary move, Japan's Prime Minister and the head of the International Olympic Committee agreed to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Games by a year, as the world battles the coronavirus pandemic. (Report)

There is hope for athletes like wrestler Narsingh Yadav serving doping bans, as World Anti-Doping Agency president Witold Banka said the athletes can participate in the postponed Tokyo Olympics. (Report)

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said that the decision to postpone this year’s Tokyo Olympics because of the coronavirus has saved athletes from “mental turmoil.” (Report)

- TABLE TENNIS -

The Indian table tennis team has lauded the IOC’s decision to postpone to Tokyo Olympics to 2021 owing to the coronavirus pandemic. The country’s top-ranked male paddler, G. Sathiyan, said the postponement was the best move and that a “cancellation would have been the worst". (REPORT)

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The postponement of the Tokyo Olympics has also given the Table Tennis Federation of India more time to zero down on a head coach for the national team, a post that has remained vacant since the 2018 Asian Games due to various factors. (REPORT)

Indian paddler Takeme Sarkar has been stranded in Spain owing to the coronavirus-induced lockdown. She had gone to Spain to play in the Spanish League and was scheduled to return on March 24, but can now make the return trip only on May 11. (REPORT)