Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
2 minute read
16 Mar 2020
3:05 pm

SA sport shuts down properly

Wesley Botton

Athletics, triathlon and tennis all fall in line to join their bigger brothers cricket, soccer and rugby in suspending events due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Multiple national federations fell in line on Monday, confirming they had cancelled or postponed upcoming sports events across the board, as South Africa tightened its restrictions on travel and group gatherings in an attempt to shut down the spread of the Coronavirus.

In his address to the nation on Sunday night, President Cyril Ramaphosa had recommended that all sports competitions and tournaments be called off or postponed until further notice.

Government also prohibited gatherings of more than 100 people.

In reaction, Athletics South Africa postponed all athletics events in the country for 30 days.

Events which would be affected included the national junior track and field championships, the Spar Women’s Grand Prix Series and all Park Run events.

The national athletics body hoped these events, and others, would be held at a later stage.

“Athletes are urged to continue with their preparations for all their postponed events so that they are ready when they are resumed,” ASA said in a statement.

Cricket South Africa (CSA), whose domestic programme was reasonably close to completion, decided there was no way it could continue with all related activities.

As a result, there’ll be no play from franchise to junior level for the next 60 days.

“We at CSA take this pronouncement by the President and the cabinet very seriously and we will most certainly use our leverage to ensure that we minimise the impact of the virus in our spaces,” said chief executive Jacques Faul.

“Consequently and during this time of absolute caution and surveillance, we would like to call upon all our members and affiliates to desist from taking part in any cricket related gatherings and other transversal events that will include the congregation of large numbers of people and/or up to 100 people.”

Tennis South Africa (TSA) also suspended all its tournaments until April 20.

All TSA development centres, including wheelchair tennis hubs, would be closed on Wednesday.

“Tennis South Africa is taking the precautionary measure to postpone all TSA sanctioned events – national, regional and local junior, senior and wheelchair tennis events,” the federation said.

Meanwhile Triathlon South Africa announced it had cancelled the national championships, which were scheduled to be held in Durban this weekend.

Last week the local body had received confirmation that all international events had been cancelled until the end of April, including the African Cup race which was expected to be held in conjunction with this weekend’s contest.

“In light of this development, Triathlon South Africa has no choice and will not sanction any events until further notice,” the federation said.

Also reacting to Ramaphosa’s speech, the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) advised athletes to limit all non-essential travel, including travel for competitions.

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