Rugby’s Singapore Sevens have been postponed as Asian sport reels from the coronavirus, with the Chinese Grand Prix, golf and football fixtures among the long list of casualties.
World Rugby announced the Singapore Sevens, one of only two Asian events on this year’s global sevens series, have been put on hold until October.
The announcement comes a day after the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai, scheduled for April 19, was postponed, becoming the biggest single sports event affected by coronavirus so far.
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The Rugby Sevens competition was originally scheduled for April 13-14, but has been pushed back as the city scrambles to deal with the virus, with 50 confirmed cases.
The COVID-19 death toll leapt to 1355 on Thursday with nearly 60,000 infections in China, where the virus is thought to have emerged in the city of Wuhan.
Australia’s Lachie Anderson at last year’s Singapore SevensSource:AFP
World Rugby would not reveal any details ahead of Thursday’s announcement, describing “a rapidly-evolving situation, which we continue to monitor in close collaboration with key stakeholders”.
“It would be inappropriate to speculate on any potential impact at this stage,” a spokesman told AFP.
But many inside the sport did not expect the Singapore tournament to go ahead as scheduled.
“It’s obviously a real shame but they have to put the health of those involved and attending first so it’s the right thing to do if it’s postponed,” Ben Ryan, who coached Fiji to Olympic sevens gold in 2016, told the South China Morning Post.
Asia’s sports schedule has been hammered by the coronavirus, with Singapore’s HSBC Women’s World Championship, starting on February 27, among two golf events cancelled this week.
The start of China’s Super League football is indefinitely on hold, and Chinese clubs are mostly sidelined from Asia’s Champions League until April.
Athletics’ World Indoor Championships, due to be held in Nanjing in March, were postponed for a year, while boxing, tennis, basketball, skiing, diving, snooker and badminton have also been affected in China.
But the biggest domino to fall was Shanghai’s Formula One Grand Prix, which was postponed “to ensure the health and safety of the travelling staff, championship participants and fans”, the FIA, motorsport’s governing body, said on Wednesday.
No new date was proposed for the race — one of 22 on this year’s calendar — and there has been no announcement about the inaugural Grand Prix in Vietnam, scheduled for April 5.
Ellia Green of Australia during the 2020 Sydney SevensSource:Getty Images
The Singapore Sevens would have been key to teams’ preparations for the Tokyo Olympics, which commences July 27th.
Australia are currently ranked seventh in the men’s competition and second in the women's.
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