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Opinion

Covid-19 has devastated the whole world of sports | Opinion – analysis

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With the world locked up, sports stars have taken the social networks with fervor, sharing experiences, anecdotes and experience, among other things. On one level, it keeps them engaged with their fans. But in another, as he spends more time in isolation, he also seems to be revealing increasing anxiety.

Recently, the Big Four of men’s tennis – Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray – chatted on Instagram. This went viral on social media. Fans logged in around the world to hear the interaction between the champions. Banter and Bonhomie struck up the conversation as the legendary players talked about life, their concerns, and, of course, tennis. However, throughout the session, there was a certain amount of thoughtfulness, some melancholy, even some unease.

The uncertainties we face today seem to have generated fear among athletes of all ages, genders, and sports disciplines. Psychologically, the problems they face today go much deeper than losing a few games; It could scare many of them for life.

Multi-medal winning Olympic gymnast Simone Biles said the Wall street journal Recently, “Physically I have no doubts that my coaches will put me in shape. But mentally going another year, I think that’s what’s going to take its toll. “Biles had planned to retire after the Tokyo Olympics. With the games boosted for next year, with the possibility that it won’t be held in Absolute, he told the newspaper that he will now play it by ear. The fact that even athletes at the top of their game feel distraught is one aspect of the devastation the virus has wrought in the world of sports.

After the World Health Organization declared coronavirus disease (Covid-19) as a pandemic in mid-March, major tournaments were canceled or suspended indefinitely. Remember, this was supposed to be a golden year for sports with the Tokyo Olympics and the T20 Cricket World Championship added to the regular mega-event roster. Now 2020 can only be described as horrible year for sports.

The only bright spots are chess and eSports, which have gained traction during the lockdown. Everyone else has gone to beat up. The magnitude of financial turmoil facing the sports world has not been estimated so far, but an unprecedented calculation suggests enormous havoc. If the Indian Premier League is not played this year, for example, the Cricket Board of Control in India (BCCI) could suffer losses of ~ 3,500-4,000 crore. BCCI can still survive this setback, but most other cricket boards are on the brink of ruin due to canceled events.

Deferring the Tokyo Olympics until 2021 will likely cost the International Olympic Committee and Japan about $ 6 billion. The suspension of the Basketball and American Football Leagues will affect their balance sheets by a couple of billions of dollars at least. The list is long and the overall losses are staggering. In addition to promoters and players, thousands of people employed within a sport / tournament ecosystem (broadcasters, vendors, vendors, and those in the hospitality and travel sectors) have been utterly outlandish.

The only winner, oddly enough, during this calamitous phase is the All England Tennis Club, which hosts the Wimbledon Grand Slam. By chance or foreknowledge, the tournament was insured against a pandemic and the club could receive over £ 100m in compensation.

Suggestions that events take place in a “quarantined” environment, with no viewers and only for a television audience, have recently been successfully tested. But it is unlikely to generate sustained interest and acceptance over a long period of time for both fans and athletes themselves.

It could be argued that the television audience for most sports, in any case, is much higher today than ever; So why worry about the presence, or rather the absence, of people in the stadiums? But that goes against the spirit of competitive sport, as we have known it is played. Athletes are representing artists and long for a live audience to inspire them to perform their best. Keeping fans away from the arena of action would make the sport tasteless instead of the throbbing, vivid experience it should be. Furthermore, this will require a massive change in mindset that could take decades at least.

In any case, the sport played for television or the online audience may not be a panacea for a raging virus. All sports require large numbers of coaches, administrative staff, and other support systems. Also, without lengthy, lengthy and costly tests, how do you allow players to play against each other?

The problem is not limited to the elite level. The biggest challenge in the future will be at the lower levels, particularly at the grassroots level, where parents / guardians will be sure to allow their wards to participate in group activities. That could sound like death to many forms of sport.

Ironically, sport offers the best promise of recovery after Covid-19. Unquestionably it helps to develop immunity, it is a great psychological support in times of stress and, in addition to sharpening the competitive instinct, it also promotes cooperation and mutual accommodation, which the human race urgently needs now. Realistically, life can return to normal only after finding an effective vaccine. Expert opinion suggests that this may take 12-18 months. But human ingenuity, particularly when it comes to survival, has done wonders as the history of our species shows. The world of sports, like everything else, waits with its fingers crossed.

Ayaz Memon is a sports journalist. and commentator

The opinions expressed are personal.

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