Even before President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the ban on gatherings of 100 people or more, sporting events involving South African teams had been affected by the coronavirus.

By mid-March, all sports involving international teams or participants had events cancelled or postponed: from cricket, rugby, road running to tennis and swimming (see the table below). These events included the Cape Epic Cycle Tour and the Two Oceans and Comrades Marathons, which would have far-reaching economic implications.

The longer school holidays declared by the President – closing two days early and re-opening two weeks later than scheduled  – will also have an impact on winter school sport leagues and tournaments. In June the school holidays will be shortened by 7 days and in September by 2 days. All schools athletic events have been postponed or cancelled and the World School Sports Festival of rugby that was due to take place 24-28 March at Afrikaans Hoër Seunskool (Affies) was cancelled due to the withdrawal of international teams.

The cancellation of the Potch Open and Ilana Kloss International tennis events three days before the final, was a tough blow for South Africa’s Chanel Simmonds, who reached the quarter-final round in the $25 000 Women’s ITF World Tour event. She will now earn round losers’ points and round losers’ prize money for the round that she reached (the quarter final).

Southern African events affected

Sport Event Status Resumed
Athletics All Athletics SA events and school sport Postponed mid-April
Cricket Australian women’s inbound tour Postponed tbc
Protea ODI series SA vs India
All Cricket SA games mid-May
Over 50’s World Cup Cancelled
Cycling African Continental Road Championships Postponed June
2020 Cape Epic Cancelled
Running 2020 Two Oceans and Comrades marathons Cancelled
Rugby Vodacom Super Rugby Postponed tbc
Guiness Pro 14
Sevens Singapore & Hong Kong October
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series in Stellenbosch tbc
SuperSport Rugby Challenge April
U20 International series in SA  and Junior Boks tour to the UK Cancelled
2020 Affies World Schools Festival Cancelled
Soccer All CAF continental qualifying fixtures Postponed tbc
PSL matches Played without spectators
Friendly SA vs Italy Cancelled
Swimming African championships Durban Postponed tbc
Tennis Potch Open & Ilana Kloss International Cancelled
All Tennis SA events, including Growthpoint National Juniors Postponed 20 April

The impact of the coronavirus on global events has been massive and remains fluid as changes are announced on a daily basis. At the time of publication Bulgaria, China, France, Iran, Italy, Slovakia and Spain had banned all sporting events and Greece banned all spectators. In South Africa, events attracting 100 or more spectators have been banned.

Globally, sporting events in all sporting codes had been affected, for example:

Sport Event Status Resumed
Archery World Cup 4-10 May Cancelled
Athletics 2020 World Athletics Indoor Championship Cancelled
Badminton China Masters, German Open, Portuguese International Cancelled
Baseball MLB regular season Suspended Mid April
Basketball NBA regular season Suspended Re-evaluate April
Boxing African Continental Forum Postponed tbc
Cricket Indian Premier League Postponed 15 April
England vs Sri Lanka tests Postponed tbc
Cross Country World University Championship Postponed tbc
Cycling 2020 Giro d’Italia Postponed tbc
MTB World Cup, Portugal Cancelled
Golf 2020 Augusta Masters Postponed tbc
PGA Tour all tournaments Cancelled
HSBC Women’s World Championship & LPGA Thailand
Kenya Open, Czech Masters, Japan LPGA Tour
Gymnastics Artistic World Cup Doha & Rhythmic World Cup Italy Postponed 3-7 June
All-round World Cup Germany Cancelled
Road running Rome, Vienna, Taipei City, all China marathons, New York, Seoul, Daeugu International Cancelled
London marathon Postponed from 26 April 4 October
Boston marathon Postponed from 20 April 14 September
Amsterdam, Barcelona, Hamburg, Lisbon, Madrid, Milan, Paris Postponed September & October
MotoGP Thailand, Spain, Americas, Argentina Grand Prix Postponed Sep – Nov
Motor racing Grand Prix in Australia and Shanghai Cancelled
All IndyCar Series
Formula E all races Suspended for 2 months May
Nascar Atlanta and Miami Postponed tbc
Grand Prix in Bahrain and Vietnam
NCAA sport All university sport in the US Cancelled
Rugby Six Nations men & women Postponed tbc
Shooting World Cup New Delhi Postponed May & June
Soccer Most leagues in Europe Postponed or behind closed doors tbc
Premier, Champions & Europa Leagues Cancelled
All elite games in England Suspended 3 April
Sport Climbing World Cups in China Cancelled
Surfing World Surf League 10 Events postponed, 3 cancelled tbc
Table tennis World Championship South Korea Postponed from May 21-28 June
Australian Open 23-28 June event suspended
Tennis Miami Open, BNP Paribas Open Indian Wells, China tournaments Cancelled
ATP & ITF  all events

2020 Roland Garros

Postponed 20 April

20 Sep

Triathlon Abu Dhabi World Series & World Cup China Postponed tbc
World Cup Italy October

The main question asked by all is: will the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games planned for 24 July to August 9th go ahead? The fate of the world’s biggest showcase of sport will be decided tomorrow (Tuesday 17th March) during a crisis conference call between the IOC and international sporting bodies. In the past week more and more elite athletes, sporting bodies and even government leaders had been asking that the Games be postponed despite reassurances by Japan’s Olympics Minister Seiko Hashimoto that a safe tournament will be held.

But, several athletes are affected by travel bans and the cancellation or postponement of events make it difficult for many of them to qualify for the Olympics.  Several Olympic trial events also had to be postponed or cancelled. Even the traditional highlight that signals the final build-up to the Games  has been affected. After the Olympic flame was lit in Olympia without spectators, the traditional torch relay was cancelled in Greece because spectators could not be prevented from lining the route to watch the torchbearers running to deliver it in Athens on March 19th.

Olympic Games impact so far

Sport Event Status Resumed
Olympic Games 2020 Event Tokyo Decision pending
Volunteer training Tokyo Postponed May
Torch relay race Greece Cancelled

Related sporting events

Rowing World Cups Italy & European Olympic Qualifying regatta Cancelled
Rugby Olympic test events
Swimming Olympic trials Italy
Water Polo Women’s Olympic qualifier Italy Postponed tbc

Please note: this is a story that is rapidly changing. We’ll try to update as soon as possible.