Fans fret in the absence of sporting solace to get through COVID-19 mayhem

PTI  | Deccan Chronicle

Sports, In Other News

Once All England Badminton ends in Birmingham tonight, sports lovers will have nothing to look forward to

Japan's Yuki Fukushima (2nd R) and Sayaka Hirota (R) pose on the podium with their trophies and medals after their win over China's Du Yue (L) and Li Yin Hui (2nd L) in their All England Open Badminton Championships women's doubles final in Birmingham, central England, on Sunday. AFP Photo

New Delhi: Sporting inactivity all over the world seems to be not only sending sports fans crazy but driving them into depression as they have nothing but to cope with the COVID-19 news even as they confine themselves to the safe environs of their homes.

"What am I supposed to do now?" was the question many sports fans were asking on social media after the COVID-19 pandemic caused an unprecedented suspension of on-field action all over the world.

Before the coronavirus crisis caused mass cancellations and postponements in the last three days, March was to be a busy sports month. But as things stand now, there is no live action for the fans once the All England Badminton Championships wind up in Birmingham.

"Day 3 without sports," read a tweet, with an accompanying picture which said, "Bet on the Weather". The post has over 55,000 retweets and 220,000 likes so far.

On a normal weekend, fans have the league football from all over Europe to look forward to. In cricket-mad India, the choice could have been international series in different parts involving India, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, England, and Sri Lanka.

For the racing aficionados, there would have been Formula One action in Australia, not to forget the NBA, golf and tennis, events which have a loyal viewership of their own.

Blast from the past

But with everything suspended to contain the virus, which has claimed over 6,000 lives and infected close to 160,000 people world over, even sports was unavailable as a panacea for an international community battling an imploding health crisis.

"We know times are wild right now and with no sports to watch, we are unlocking a few of our stories to give you something to read," read a tweet from a US-based sports magazine, which offered free access to some its major stories.

"Anybody wants golf lessons?? Might as well teach!" posted US-based Indian golfer Arjun Atwal after the PGA Tour was put on hold.

There were jokes galore on the current situation.

"Presenter: And now with the sports news, here's.....," read a tweet by a sports presenter.

"Sports Presenter: Erm sorry, there's no sports news as everything has been cancelled due to the #Coronavirus. Back to you!" he went on to quip.

"The #coronavirus has swept the globe in recent weeks and has forced people to stay home. To make things even worse there's no sports to get us through this!!" posted another Twitter user.
In the absence of live action, sports channels were left with no option but to run highlights of past events.

In Star Sports 3, which was to broadcast the India-South Africa second ODI from Lucknow, the prime time was filled with shows such as 'The return of the Lion' and old IPL matches.

Sony 6 was playing highlights of the first ODI between Australia and New Zealand, which was played behind closed doors at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday.

Ten Sports was running old Big Bash League (BBL) matches.

On the day, the only events telecast live were the All England Badminton finals on Star Sports 2, a far cry from the plethora of options normally available for the millions of sports lovers.

Tokyo stoic in its preparations

Amid all this, Japan, however, is adamant that the July-August Olympics will not be affected despite the country being among the worst affected by the deadly outbreak.