Worldwide corona worries in sport: fear of termination in the omicron fog

Worldwide corona worries in sport
Fear of termination in the omicron nebula

Sport is well on its way to a life with Corona, but then the Omikron variant changes everything. The junior ice hockey world championship has already been canceled, and fear in other sports is also in the omicron fog.

Edmonton is a long way from London, and the British capital is also far from Garmisch-Partenkirchen. But these days, especially in these three places, the fine line of sport in dealing with the worrying corona development is still evident. In London, an omicron hotspot, the darts pros throw their discs in front of cheering spectators and without great restrictions. In Garmisch, the ski jumpers try under the strictest security precautions to get the Four Hills Tournament over the table. And in Canada all caution was not enough.

The cancellation of the U20 Junior Ice Hockey World Championship in Edmonton and Red Deer “due to the continued spread of Covid-19 and the Omikron variant” was, according to the organizers, inevitable. Three teams had previously been quarantined after positive corona tests; the sporting competition could no longer be saved. It can affect anyone – no longer just the unvaccinated, who are only a minority at tournaments and World Cups. There will be competitions in many sports in the coming weeks – with the preliminary climax of the Olympic Games in Beijing on February 4th.

Ski jumper careful, darts association defiant

The jumping circus moved from Oberstdorf to Garmisch on Thursday, further tour stops are Innsbruck (3rd / 4th January) and Bischofshofen (5th / 6th January). The athletes are tested regularly and closely. So far, there have been no new, prominent corona cases. Overall leader Ryoyu Kobayashi had already tested positive this season. No World Cup has yet been canceled. The stops planned for January in Japan have been canceled due to entry restrictions. Jumpers and TV viewers have long since got used to the dreary Corona backdrop at the otherwise atmospheric highlight of the season at the four ski jumps in Germany and Austria.

The pictures from the Darts World Cup (until February 3rd) from the London “Ally Pally” simply do not fit the overall situation in Great Britain from a German point of view. The kingdom recently reported a huge increase in corona cases. In England alone, 138,287 people tested positive for the virus in one day. But there are no stricter rules in England. This also applies to the arrow throwers – much to the annoyance of the top stars like world champion Gerwyn Price or ex-champion Gary Anderson, who demanded that it be canceled. Michael van Gerwen, who was stopped by a positive corona test, relentlessly uncovered the shortcomings of the hygiene concept: The PDC, actually more of a company, will “always say that it has adhered to the rules of the government, but it could have done more The controls weren’t strong enough. It’s just a big corona bomb now. ” On Thursday, the association announced to “Bild” that the World Cup would be played to the end.

Ghost races and Hungary’s optimism

20,000 spectators attended the last World Cup day before Christmas in France. But already five weeks before the first races at the Home World Cup in Oberhof (January 6th to 9th) there was bad news for the biathlon fans: There will be ghost races. “The developments in the corona pandemic in the past few weeks and the fact that an easing of the situation is not in sight did not allow any other decision,” said the organizer. “Another year without the unbelievable atmosphere in the Arena am Rennsteig. It is incredibly sad!”

In Ruhpolding (January 12th to 16th), however, the organizers are still hoping for one or the other race with spectators. The opening competition with the women’s sprint on January 12th will also take place without fans. “As things stand today, it is still unclear whether the remaining days of the competition with audience participation are possible,” it said. So far, there have only been a few corona cases in the Biathlon World Cup itself.

It doesn’t look any better in handball. Like the World Cup in Egypt just under a year ago, the European Championship from January 13th to 30th in Hungary and Slovakia will be accompanied by corona worries. Olympic champion France reported various corona cases in preparation, including superstar Nikola Karabatic. The DHB selection comes together on New Year’s Day in Großwallstadt for their European Championship course. Only vaccinated or recovered people are allowed to take part in the tournament.

The audience situation is still unclear. As things stand at present, the finals in Hungary are to take place with an audience. In Slovakia – where the German team plays their preliminary round games and, if they advance, also the main round games – there is currently a complete exclusion of spectators. However, the Slovak association president Jaroslav Holesa hopes “that the improving pandemic situation will contribute to a positive decision for mass events and at least some spectators will be allowed to enter the grandstands in Bratislava and Kosice”.

Field of participants thinned out

The discussions in tennis revolve particularly around the Serbian world number one Novak Djokovic. Is he vaccinated or not? Does he get an exemption or not? Because only vaccinated professionals are allowed to participate in the Australian Open from January 17th to 30th. The nine-time Melbourne champion Djokovic has not commented on his vaccination status and, contrary to planned and in contrast to the German athlete of the year Alexander Zverev, does without the ATP Cup, which starts on January 1st.

In the past few days, positive corona tests have repeatedly been made public, be it from the Spanish top star Rafael Nadal, the British US Open winner Emma Raducanu, Olympic champion Belinda Bencic from Switzerland or the Russian Andrej Rublev. How the cases will affect the field of participants in the first Grand Slam tournament of the season is still unclear. Unlike last year, when a maximum of 50 percent of the capacity was used, this time the Australian Open could again be held in front of full spectators.

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