Concerned PV Sindhu calls up Kiren Rajju
Wary of the novel COVID-19 threat, top shuttler PV Sindhu on Thursday called up sports minister Kiren Rijiju from the UK, seeking his suggestion on whether to continue playing in the All England Championships.
Rijiju said on Friday that he told her to carry on and follow the safety guidelines of that country. Sindhu anyway was ousted from the meet on Friday after being beaten 12-21, 21-15, 21-13 by a determined Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in a women’s singles quarter-final match.
The sports ministry had on Thursday issued an advisory asking national federations to follow the health ministry’s guidelines and avoid large gatherings in sports events. Earlier, it had asked all National Sports Federations to exercise caution while sending teams for foreign competitions.
“Sindhu called me and I told her that those who are playing outside in important tournaments like the Olympic qualifications can continue to play but they should follow guidelines of those respective countries. They should also take certain safety measures,” Rijiju said.
Asked about shuttler P. Kashyap expressing confusion regarding the advisory, Rijiju said: “I have made the clarification that those who are competing abroad should continue.”
Rijiju said that Indian players who had taken part in competitions held at the seven notified countries as well as athletes from those nations coming for events here will have to be compulsorily quarantined.
The seven notified countries are China, Iran, South Korea, Italy, France, Spain and Germany.
Formula One’s season was thrown into turmoil Friday with the Australian Grand Prix cancelled just hours before cars were due to hit the track, and races in Vietnam and Bahrain subsequently called off as well as the coronavirus pandemic takes its toll.
The decisions follow the postponement last month of April’s Chinese Grand Prix, leaving motorsport chiefs scrambling to revise the calendar and proposing the end of May as a potential start date for the season.
Golf meets hit
The Players Championship golf tournament in Florida has been cancelled after the first round, the PGA Tour said late on Thursday.
The Masters, which brings together the world’s best golfers in April for the year’s first Major, has also been postponed, Augusta National Golf Club said on Friday.
Torch relay suspended
The Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC) decided to suspend the remainder of the Olympic Torch relay through Greece to avoid attracting crowds because of coronavirus, it said on Friday.
Other events affected
- The Orleans Masters badminton tournament, which was to be held at Orleans, France, later this month, was on Friday cancelled. Six Indians were supposed to participate in the meet.
- The International Table Tennis Federation suspended “all activities” until the end of April on Friday.
- The All India Chess Federation on Friday postponed all national championships till May 31.
- In view of the Indian government’s notification to battle the coronavirus outbreak, the RCTC has decided not to conduct the ‘Live’ and Inter-venue racing from March 13, till further notice.
- The AITA on Friday cancelled all domestic tournaments till further notice.
- The world badminton body (BWF) has decided to suspend all tournaments from Monday to April 12. That means the India Open scheduled to be held in New Delhi from March 24 to 29 will be affected.