Let The Games Begin

Games being played without spectators

After major sporting events were shut down due to Coronavirus lockdown, some leagues across sports resume after gradual lifting of lockdown. The games had to follow basic protocols, but gave something to the fans after a wait of more than 2 months.
Complete Coverage: Coronavirus

Crux of the Matter

Bundesliga, Germany’s top-tier football league, resumed from 16 May. 8 fixtures have been played so far. The last match was played on 11 March, marking a gap of more than 2 months. No signs of rust present as high-scoring matches ensued. Nevertheless, safety protocols were followed. No spectators were allowed inside the stadium, and players on the substitute bench had to wear masks. Goal celebrations occurred without hugs.

You shoot at the goal, make a top pass, a goal – and nothing happens. That’s very, very strange. We really miss our fans.

Lucien Favre, Manager of Borussia Dortmund

Baseball Back in Taiwan
Taiwan’s baseball league resumed from 12 April in empty stadiums after successful curbing of Coronavirus, drawing more than 650,000 viewers. On 15 May, 1500+ spectators were allowed inside the stadium, with the limit now increased to 2,000. Unlike Bundesliga, food provision is allowed inside the stadium. Importantly, no social distancing has to be followed by the spectators, which is drawing more spectators.

When Will Other Leagues Start?
English Premier League (EPL), the world’s most popular football league having Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, etc is scheduled to resume from June 1. However, it will occur only if no new cases are reported in England. The situation regarding the permit of spectators inside the stadium is unclear.

The world’s most popular basketball league, America’s NBA is supposed to resume after June. However, some sources claim the current season would be declared finished with the current table positions, and the next season will start from December.

What about India?
The latest lockdown guidelines have allowed the opening of stadiums and sports-complexes while disallowing any spectators. The step has given hope to IPL fans, with BCCI hoping to finish the 2020 season before the year’s end. India’s football league ISL is in the same stadium, seeking to finish the season before 2020 ends.

  • The Olympic Games generate substantial revenues, through the sale of broadcasting and marketing rights, as well as other income streams. The revenue for the Summer and Winter Olympics that spans between 2013 to 2016, was $5.7 billion. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is a non-profit organization, dedicated to using the revenue to assist athletes and develop sport worldwide. As a result, IOC distributes about $3.4 million per day around the world to help athletes and sports organizations.
  • As of 2020, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium (Motera Stadium) in Ahmedabad, India is the largest cricket stadium in the world and the second-largest stadium overall, with a seating capacity of 110,000 spectators. The stadium hosted the opening of “Namaste Trump”, the inaugural visit of US President Donald Trump on 24 February 2020.
  • During the 1918 influenza pandemic commonly called the Spanish flu, sporting events resulted in social gatherings. Even though the attendance was low, these games helped spread a new strain of the virus and caused the second wave of influenza in the United States. The image below shows how the players and the fans showed up to games with masks during the 1918 influenza pandemic.

India emerges as the top shooting nation in 2019

Leaving behind China and the USA; India emerged as the top shooting nation in the world with its significant performances in the year 2019. India has also topped all the Rifle-Pistol World Cups and Finals.

Crux of the Matter
  • India leads the standings with 21 gold, 6 silver and 3 bronze medals overall.
  • China is in second position with 44 medals including 11 gold, 15 silver and 18 bronze.
  • The USA stands at third position with 15 medals including 6 gold, 6 silver and 3 bronze.
  • The number of Olympic quotas, which now stands at a record 15,
  • These performances have given rise to this sport and the shooters the necessary motivation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
  • Indian record is two medals at London Olympics in 2012.

The 2020 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXXII Olympiad is an upcoming international multi-sport event that is scheduled to take place from 24 July to 9 August 2020 in Tokyo, Japan. Tokyo was selected as the host city during the 125th IOC Session in Argentina on 7 September 2013. This will be the second time that Tokyo has hosted the Summer Olympic Games, the first being in 1964, making it the first city in Asia to host the Summer Games twice. The 2020 Games will be the second of three consecutive Olympics to be held in East Asia, the first being the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang County, South Korea, and the next being the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China. These Games will see the introduction of new and additional competitions at the Summer Olympics, including 3×3 basketball, freestyle BMX and Madison cycling, as well as further mixed events. More Info

Koneru Humpy Wins the Women's World Rapid Chess Championship

Koneru Humpy beat Lei Tingjie of China to win the Women’s World Rapid Chess Championship in Moscow on December 28. Magnus Carlsen won the men’s title in the world rapid championship for the third time in his career.

Crux of the Matter
  • Alireza Firouzja bagged the silver medal while Hikaru Nakamura took bronze in the Men’s category.
  • Lei Tingjie bagged the Silver medal and Turkey’s Ekaterina Atalik won the bronze medal in the Women’s category.
  • This is a significant triumph for Humpy, who is more at ease in the classical format and was clearly trying to take her skills in the rapid format to a new level.
  • After winning the title she said, “Yes, honestly, I was expecting at the most a top-three finish as there was no time for the preparations too for this event. Worked a bit on the Openings and I am glad to have pulled it off.”
  • Humpy’s father-cum-coach Koneru Ashok advised her to play tactically in the rapid format unlike in the Classical format where positional play is the preferred objective.
  • She also won the FIDE Women’s Grand Prix series by picking 30 crucial ELO points to be world No. 3.
  • She is now leading the Grand Prix which is part of the cycle for the next World championship.

Humpy Koneru is an Indian chess grandmaster and current World Rapid Chess Champion. In October 2007, she became the second female player, after Judit Polgár, to exceed the 2600 Elo rating mark, being rated 2606. In 2002, Koneru became the youngest woman ever to achieve the title of grandmaster at the age of 15 years, 1 month, 27 days, beating Judit Polgár’s previous mark by three months; this record was subsequently broken by Hou Yifan in 2008. She was awarded the Arjuna Award in 2003 and Padma Shri in 2007. More Info

India Opens with 14 Medals in South Asian Games

In the 13th South Asian Games being held in Nepal from December 1 to 10; India contingent has opened with 14 medals, including three gold, eight silver and three bronze on the first day itself.

Crux of the Matter
  • Adarsha Sinimol won the first gold medal in Triathlon men’s individual event. The event comprised of 750 Meter swim, 20 km bike and 5 km run which he completed in 01:02:51 followed by India’s Srikhom Bishworjit who bagged silver with 01:02:59 hrs.
  • In the women’s category, Sorojini Devi Thoudam was just 15 seconds behind Nepal’s Sony Gurung and bagged silver. She finished 300 Meter swim, 6.6 km bike and 1.5 km run in 01:13:45 hrs
  • In Taekwondo, India won two gold, six silver and two bronze medals.
  • India is represented by 487 athletes in more than 15 sports categories.
  • At the end of Day 1, Nepal remained on top with 15 gold, 3 silver and 6 bronze, India at 2nd position followed by Sri Lanka with 3 gold, 7 silver and 14 bronze.

The South Asian Games are a biennial multi-sport event held among the athletes from South Asia. The governing body of these games is South Asia Olympic Council (SAOC), formed in 1983. At present, SAG is joined by eight members namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. The first South Asian Games were hosted by Kathmandu, Nepal in 1984. From 1984 to 1987 they were held every year except 1986, as it was a year of Commonwealth Games and Asian Games. The XII South Asian Games was held at Guwahati and Shillong from 5 February to 16 February 2016. More Info

New National Sports Code Draft Rejected by the IOA

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has rejected the National Sports Code draft completely which suggests multiple administrative policy changes. IOA stated that India will face criticism from the International Olympic Committee if this draft is approved, and might even face suspension.

Crux of the Matter
  • The Sports Ministry of India sent a letter to the IOA on 24 Oct to review the draft. The draft bars government officials and holders of legislative posts from being appointed in the IOA to avoid conflict of interest.
  • A letter rejecting the modifications stated by the 2017 Draft National Sports Code was sent in turn by IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta.
  • It is to be noted that the IOA was was suspended in 2012 by the IOC on grounds of government interference.
  • “We, the IOA and all our members, outrightly reject the new Draft Sports Code as it interferes the autonomy of IOA and its members. The Sports Code was discussed with GOI MYAS and implemented in 2014 in IOA Statutes which enabled IOA to regain its recognition in 2012,” Rajeev Mehta quoted in the feedback letter to the ministry.

The International Olympic Committee is a non-governmental sports organisation based in Lausanne, Switzerland. Created by Pierre de Coubertin and Demetrios Vikelas in 1894, it is the authority responsible for organising the modern Summer and Winter Olympic Games. The IOC is the governing body of the National Olympic Committees (NOCs), which are the national constituents of the worldwide Olympic Movement. As of 2016, there are 206 NOCs officially recognised by the IOC. Read More