Hit list: What's next in line for possible coronavirus postponement

A look at six of the upcoming major sporting events that could be affected by the coronavirus pandemic that's already forced a postponement in Tokyo Olympics.

Published : Mar 29, 2020 09:03 IST , PARIS

Wimbledon is scheduled to take place from June 29 until July 12
Wimbledon is scheduled to take place from June 29 until July 12

Wimbledon is scheduled to take place from June 29 until July 12

The coronavirus pandemic has decimated the 2020 sporting calendar, with the Tokyo Olympics and football's European Championship the biggest events to be postponed.

Here, AFP Sport takes a look at six of the upcoming major competitions which could also be cancelled or delayed due to the COVID-19 outbreak:

Epsom Derby

Scheduled date: June 6

-- British racing is in shutdown mode until at least the end of April, placing doubt on Newmarket's Guineas weekend on May 2/3, and inevitably also the jewel in the British flat racing crown, the Epsom Derby.

Read: Kipchoge: People should observe self-discipline to contain coronavirus

The Blue Riband of the turf has been held every year since Diomed took the inaugural running in 1780. During the two World Wars it was moved to Newmarket.

Around 150,000 people descend on the Epsom Downs to watch Britain's richest race.

Royal Ascot

Scheduled dates: June 16-20

-- British monarch Queen Elizabeth II has only missed attending two Epsom Derbies since her first visit as a princess in 1946. But she has never failed to attend her 'local' meeting since ascending the throne in 1952.

Royal Ascot has been staged every year since 1911
The five day festival draws a 300,000 crowd which consumes 56,000 bottles of champagne and 80,000 cups of tea while out on the track equine aristocrats joust for prize money in excess of £8 million ($10 million).

Read: Federer to donate one million Swiss francs to vulnerable families

Ascot spokesman Nick Smith told The Daily Mail: “There are no certainties and we are one industry in a world of industries in exactly the same position. You can plan with optimism but no surety.”

It has been staged every year since 1911. The 2005 meeting moved to York while the racecourse was closed for renovation.

US Open

Scheduled dates: June 18-21

-- The 120th US Open at Winged Foot is due to be the first men's major of the golf season after the postponements of both the Masters and the PGA Championship.

Brooks Koepka (in picture) hits out of the bunker on the 14th hole during the final round of the U.S. Open Championship
But American media reports earlier this week said that the tournament in Mamaroneck, New York was likely to be put back until later in the summer.

The course was closed last week, with the amount of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States since passing 100,000, over 44,000 of which have come in New York state.

Tour de France

Scheduled dates: June 27-July 19

-- The Tour de France is still scheduled to start in Nice on June 27, despite France having extended its lockdown until April 15.

File photo: Spectators cheer on Britain's Geraint Thomas during the 18th stage of Tour de France
Sports minister Roxana Maracineanu on Wednesday said that the world's most prestigious cycling race, which usually draws more than 10 million fans to the roadsides, could take place with no spectators.

But she also admitted that all options, including cancellation, are being considered.


Scheduled dates: June 29-July 12

-- The All England Club will hold an emergency meeting next week to discuss a possible postponement, or even cancellation, of Wimbledon.

Read: Osaka: I support ‘brave’ decision to postpone Olympics

The grass-court Grand Slam tournament has been held every year in peacetime since 1877, but could now follow the French Open, which saw its start date pushed back from May to September, in being delayed.

The ATP and WTA tours have been put on hold until at least June 7, wiping out the entire clay-court campaign.

British Open

Scheduled dates: July 16-19

-- British media reports on Friday said that the British Open at Royal St George's could be postponed next week.

Over 200,000 spectators are due to attend the tournament in Sandwich.

File photo: Tiger Woods waves to the crowd after the second round of the British Open golf Championships at Royal Portrush golf club in Northern Ireland
A delay could have a knock-on effect on the rest of the golf calendar, with space at a premium after the postponements of the PGA and the Masters.

It is highly unlikely that the 149th Open could be held later than September due to the weather, but a delay until next year would impact plans to hold the 150th edition at St Andrews.

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