#Tennis; #USOpen; #Covid19Pandemic
Toronto, Aug 4 (Canadian-Media): Bianca Andreescu, 20, ranked No. 6 in the world rankings, the first Canadian to win a Grand Slam singles championship, will defend her women's title at the U.S. Open, but Rafael Nadal, who was to defend men's champion said Aug 4 he will skip it due to the coronavirus pandemic, media reports said.
Bianca Andreescu. Image credit: Twitter handle
In a series of tweets sent in Spanish and English on Tuesday Nadal explained his decision to skip out.
"The situation is very complicated worldwide, the COVID-19 cases are increasing, it looks like we still don't have control of it," Nadal wrote.
Nadal, 34, of Spain called sitting out the tournament scheduled to begin Aug. 31 in New York "a decision I never wanted to take," but added that he would "rather not travel...We know that the reduced tennis calendar is barbaric this year after four months stopped with no play; I understand and thank (everyone) for the efforts they are putting in to make it happen."
Last September Andreescu defeated Serena Williams in the U.S. Open final to become the first Canadian to win a Grand Slam singles championship.
Since October, she hasn't played because of injury.
Announcement of the competitors, said the organizers, would be done closer to the start of the tournament, which is scheduled for Aug. 31.
#Alberta; #NHL; #EdmontoHubCityForNHL;
Alberta, Jul 24 (Canadian-Media): The following statement was issued by Alberta's Premier Jason Kenney on the National Hockey League (NHL)’s selection of Edmonton as a hub city.
Jason Kenney. Image credit: Twitter handle
“The Government of Alberta is thrilled that the NHL has officially selected Edmonton as one of its hub cities for the restart of the 2019-2020 NHL season, the 2020 NHL Playoffs and the Stanley Cup Finals.
“Edmonton has tremendous advantages that make it a prime choice, and Alberta has been enthusiastically promoting that message over the past few months.
“With a world-class facility in Rogers Place, the unique infrastructure of the Ice District, and strong guidelines from Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, there is no safer place for the NHL to have the playoffs than in Edmonton.
NHL. Image credit: Twitter handle
“This is a huge win for Alberta. The advantages to our local economy for hotels, restaurants and many other industries, including attracting future visitors to our province, will be substantial. In fact, it means upwards of 2,000 jobs here in Edmonton that will be created as a result, and $60 million of economic activity when we need it most. And, more importantly, we will be doing this safely.
“Every year, millions of travellers head to our province to experience its beauty, our diverse culture and our one-of-a-kind destinations – and when the time is right, they will be back.
“This is a unique opportunity to showcase the incredible sights and experiences of Alberta to the world and kick-start our economic recovery – all the while protecting the health of Albertans, players and personnel, and their families.
“Alberta has so much to offer – from our thriving restaurant and hospitality industry in the heart of downtown Edmonton around the Ice District, to the breathtaking views of the mountain vistas of Banff and Jasper. We look forward to showcasing all Alberta has to offer as we get ready to watch the puck drop.
“Hockey has always had a special place in the hearts of Albertans, and we are incredibly thrilled to bring the best game you can name back into the living rooms of homes across Canada.”
#Canada; #US; #NHL, #NHLPlayersAssociation; #ProtocolsForResumingGamesAgreed
Ottawa, Jul 6 (Canadian-Media): The National Hockey League (NHL) and NHL Players' Association, located in the United States (US) and Canada, agreed Jul 5 on protocols to resume the return of hockey this summer, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told the Associated Press, media reports said.
NHL Players' Association. Image credit: Twitter handle
Although there was an agreement on protocols for training camps and games, the sides are still negotiating an extension of the collective bargaining agreement, said daly, which is crucial to the process.
According to the collective bargaining agreement, two-thirds of the league's board of governors and majorities of the players' executive committee and full membership must vote in favour.
Nearly three months after hockey the halt March 12 due to COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, with 189 regular-season games remaining, players have been able to skate and train off-ice in voluntary, small-group workouts since June 8.
Teams are expected to open training camps July 13, subject to approval, before travelling to two "hub" cities for game and games would resume in late July or early August.
The players would be tested daily by the league once they get to their game city.
24 teams would be taking part in an expanded playoffs, finishing with the Stanley Cup being awarded in October.
"The players will be pretty well-protected from being exposed," Montreal Canadiens owner Geoff Molson said during a conference call in June. "It's going to be a completely different way for you all and us watching hockey and being around a team because players will be really well protected throughout the process."
#Canada; #NHL; #HubCity #Covid19Pandemic
Ottawa, Jun 16 (Canadian-Media): The federal government is open to the suggestion of the National Hockey League (NHL) operating a hub city in Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said to reporters on June 16 in his daily briefings in Ottawa, subject to the approval of local health authorities, media reports said.
Image credit: Twitter handle
"Three Canadian cities are asking for it," Trudeau said at his daily briefing. "Obviously the decision has to be made by the NHL and the cities and the provinces. Canada is open to it as long as it is OK'd by the local health authorities."
Justin Trudeau. Screen grab from the web
The three potential city hubs are Toronto, Edmonton, and Vancouver.
The NHL is looking at a return to action from that would feature 24 teams operating out of two hubs. The league has narrowed down its potential sites to 10 cities, including Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver.
However, the league has said it will not operate out of a Canadian city if players are subject to the mandatory 14-day quarantine currently in effect at the national border.
Although Canada extended its border closure on Tuesday for non-essential travel through at least July 21, but the restriction has not applied to the NHL players and has not prevented them from traveling back and forth as they have returned to their teams recently for voluntary workouts in Phase 2 of the restart plan.
This implies that players can use team facilities to train in small groups.
The league hopes to progress to Phase 3, the opening of training camps, on July 10, with a return to competition later in the summer.
While the NHL tries to narrow down the list of hub cities from ten to two, namely Vancouver and Toronto CBC Sports' Rob Pizzo looks at the problems they face.
These problems include that the NHL players cannot chose a city where the number of COVID-19 infected people is high. He added if one of the players is tested positive any time, he would have to be isolated while the others would remain under strict monitoring procedures. Another thing is 14-day mandatory isolation of people upon entering the country.
Discussions between the provincial and city health authorities are still ongoing, Trudeau said during his daily briefings on Tuesday, and the decision has not yet been made because the safety of the players and the staff have to be kept in mind.
#Quebec; #Sports&Leisure; #PSFSQ; #PublicHealthMeasures
Quebec, Jun 6 (Canadian-Media): The solidarity member of Sherbrooke and responsible for Sports and Leisure, Christine Labrie, requests the Legault government to present a support plan for sports organizations as soon as possible.
Christine Labrie. Image credit: Facebook page
Indeed, the drop in registrations, reimbursement requests, the cancellation of partnerships and the application of health measures threaten the financial survival of sports organizations so dear to Quebeckers of all ages.
“In the past few weeks, Minister Charest has shown creativity in allowing the resumption of certain sports activities. We thank her, but she must also act to ensure the financial survival of the sports organizations themselves, because we may find a way to comply with health rules by playing soccer, if the club puts the key in the door by lack of income, we will not be more advanced! The Minister knows to what extent the practice of a sport plays an important role in the lives of Quebeckers. If nothing is done, soccer, football or baseball clubs could close. These organizations are important in our communities, we cannot take this risk! "Says Christine Labrie .
"The situation is critical. Soccer Quebec, for example, deplores a drop in registrations of more than 50%. The soccer club in my riding, the Mistral, estimates that its losses are already in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. We cannot afford to lose these organizations, because otherwise we will end up with other public health problems! One million Quebeckers are members of sports organizations or get involved in it on a voluntary basis, it affects almost all families, ”she adds.
Two measures to put in action now
The member for solidarity asked the government to improve the Support Program for Quebec Sports Federations (PSFSQ) to finance expenses related to the application of public health measures (purchase of equipment, hiring and training of personnel in new measures).
In addition, Christine Labrie calls for the creation of an emergency fund to allow organizations that have already incurred expenses that they cannot cancel to cover these expenses and reimburse families who unsubscribe, without jeopardizing their survival.
#NHL; #ReturnToPlayProtocol; #SmallGroupWorkouts; #IceSkating; #Covid19Pandemic
Ottawa, May 25 (Canadian-Media): A memo was passed on Monday by the National Hockey League (NHL), which was forced to pause its season March 12 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, announcing early June as the start date for Phase 2 of its return-to-play protocol, media reports said.
NHL. Image credit: Twitter Handle
The NHL players would continuously monitor the situation, read the memo and make appropriate adjustments with the time following discussion with all relevant parties
The memo also included the opening of practice rinks and allowing small, voluntary group workouts on and off the ice.
The NHL, which has worked closely with the NHL Players' Association on the phased approach, said that while it views the protocol as comprehensive, it will not take any risk.
"A range of clinical scenarios exist, from very mild to fatal outcome," the 22-page memo continued. "COVID-19 generally affects older age groups and those with previously existing medical conditions, more so than younger, and otherwise healthy, individuals.
The NHL/NHLPA Return to Play Committee has been hashing out details of what the game will look like if it's allowed to return this summer. The union's executive board approved further negotiations on a 24-team format Friday.
The Phase 2 memo sent to teams Sunday and made public Monday also states players and staff will be administered COVID-19 nasal swab tests two days before training begins, and will be tested twice a week afterwards.
Daily self-administered temperature and symptom checks at home by the players would be followed by temperature and symptom check at the entrance of the club facility.
Players who live in NHL markets other than where they play will be permitted to use local facilities, pending availability, meaning they won't have to travel back to their team's home cities for Phase 2.
Most NHL players have not been on the ice since the league halted its schedule, although some, including a number of Swedish players who returned home, have been skating in recent weeks.
The league said any player or staff member who develops COVID-19 symptons during Phase 2, including cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, fever/chills, muscle pain (not exercise-related), loss of smell or taste, cold-like symptoms, or gastrointestinal symptoms are expected to immediately notify medical officials and self-isolate.
If a COVID-19 test comes back positive, the player/staff member's team will conduct contract tracing in conjunction with local health regulations.
NHL players have been awarded with the Stanley Cup every year since 1893, except for 1919 because of the Spanish flu outbreak, and 2005 when the entire campaign was cancelled due to a lockout.
Olympic Refuge Foundation: Sport can offer hope to displaced communities during the COVID-19 pandemic
#UNHCR; #ORF; #Sports; #Covid19Pandemic; #MentalHealth
Geneva, May 19 (Canadian-Media): The Olympic Refuge Foundation (ORF) today highlighted how sport can help build resilience and boost the mental health of forcibly displaced young people, especially during the COVID‐19 pandemic, UNHCR reports said.
Syrian sisters Zeinab and Rayan practice Taekwondo during lockdown at their home in Azraq refugee camp, Jordan. Image credit: © UNHCR/Mohammad Hawari
The ORF Chair and IOC President, Thomas Bach, and the Vice-Chair, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, warned of the growing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the mental health of refugees and others uprooted by war, violence and persecution around the world, compounding already very challenging circumstances.
Refugees are among the most vulnerable to the consequences of the pandemic – often residing in overcrowded camps, settlements and urban areas in cramped conditions with inadequate access to fresh water and hygiene supplies. Mental health conditions amongst people affected by conflict are already two or three times higher than in the general population, with one in five people experiencing mental health challenges.
Meeting remotely today, the ORF Board agreed on a number of initiatives to boost the protection of forcibly displaced young people and help improve their mental health through sport.
As an example, the ORF is launching a pilot project in Uganda, using sport to improve the mental health and psychosocial wellbeing of more than 10,000 refugee and host community young people (aged 15 to 24). Led by a consortium of five agencies (the ORF, AVSI, UOC, Youth Sport Uganda and UNHCR Uganda), the programme will deliver a nationwide Sport for Protection programme.
Additionally, the Board has:
ORF Vice-Chair and UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi added, “Around the world we are seeing troubling evidence of the devastating impact of the pandemic on the mental health and well-being of young refugees. The Olympic Refuge Foundation has rightly identified the important contribution that sport can make to psychosocial wellbeing and is accelerating its work to address this growing challenge.”
#Australia; #India; #ICCRanking, #ViratKohli, #ICC;
Melbourne (Australia), May 1 (Canadian-Media): Australia's official test rankings moved to the top on Friday ending India's top position since October 2016, removing Virat Kohli and his men's impressive 12-1 win-loss record in the 2016-17 period, media reports said.
ICC Cricket. Image credit: website
India, which registered its maiden test series victory in Australia last year, is scheduled to tour Down Under later this year.
South Africa suffered the biggest fall of eight points in its ratings, which sees its decline below Sri Lanka into sixth place.
India still lead the ICC World Test Championship.
England has moved into second position with 268 points while India is up one place to third, just two points behind.
When the global T20I rankings were launched 12 months ago, there were 80 ranked teams.
Since then seven teams have joined the table (Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Romania and Turkey), while three countries (France, Isle of Man and Israel) have lost their rankings having played insufficient matches.
Last year Australia was able to retain the Ashes in England and was unbeaten in five home tests against Pakistan and New Zealand.
Another South Asian team, Pakistan was replaced by Australia, to top the Twenty20 rankings as well, which boosted their confidence ahead of their home World Cup.
#ESports; #Covid19Pandemic; #Lockdown; #ElevenGaming; MapleLeafs, #ZachHyman
Ottawa, Apr 17 (Canadian-Media): Ever since it was recognized in 2018 by Maple Leafs winger Zach Hyman that e-sports was an expanded market, and an industry worth investing in, it has gained huge spike in online media during present lock down due to COVID-19 pandemic, media reports said.
Eleven Gaming, launched by Hyman in 2018 generated combined earnings of over $1.5 million within the first year of Fortnite’s competitive division.
The launch of SoaR Gaming, focusing on Call of Duty via YouTube, which was next launched by Hyman with over 21 million fans worldwide had generated 300 million impressions across social media platforms on a monthly basis.
The global e-sports market was valued at nearly $865 million (U.S.) in 2018, according to Statista.com.
According to predictions, about a month before stay-at-home orders in the United States and Canada, global e-sports market would reach $1.79 billion by 2022.
#InternationalSportDay; #IndoorActivities; #Self-Isolation
New York, Apr 6 (Canadian-Media): Running tracks, gyms and swimming pools may be closed, as part of government-imposed lockdowns in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is more important than ever to remain physically active. This is the message on this year’s International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, UN reports said.
Outdoor group sports have been banned in New York to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Image credit: UN News/Anton Uspensky
With more and more people stuck indoors for most of the day, it can be a struggle to remain physically and mentally healthy. However, the UN health agency (WHO) insists that it is more important than ever, and is achievable, even in small spaces, and without any equipment.
There is also a wide range of free and accessible online tools, such as videos and fitness apps, giving tips on working out from home, and other ways to stay healthy.
WHO is recommending that all healthy adults do at least 30 minutes of exercise per day, and children at least an hour a day. To support the international day, the health agency’s #BeActive campaign is encouraging people to try at least one of the following ways to get fit at home: online exercises classes, dancing, playing active video games, jumping rope, or practicing muscle strength and balance training.
Even elite athletes are having to cope with being stuck indoors. Brad Snyder, a gold-medal winning Paralympian in the blind swimming category, has had to contend with both the closure of swimming pools, and the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to next year.
Brad was blinded whilst on active service with the US Navy in Afghanistan, when he triggered an improvised explosive device, just a year before he competed in the London Paralympics.
In this exclusive interview, you can hear how Brad and his fellow Olympians are adjusting, and his message for anyone on lockdown, whether they are able-boded or living with disability.
Sport as a force for social inclusion
The UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) has also been raising awareness of the power of sport as an equalizer for social inclusion, bringing together people from diverse cultures, religions, and ethnicities, and as a tool for preventing violent extremism conducive to terrorism.
In a statement released on Monday, the UNAOC noted the launch of a Global Programme on Security of Major Sporting Events, and Promotion of Sport and its Values as a Tool to Prevent Violent Extremism.
To demonstrate the power of sports as a tool for diversity and inclusiveness, UNAOC has also initiated new partnerships with renowned soccer clubs and sports entities. The organization’s latest project, “Beach Soccer,” promotes this tool by embracing the “One Humanity” notion that UNAOC strives to achieve.
Giving the virus a red card
FIFA, the world football body, has joined forces with WHO on the campaign, enlisting some of the world’s biggest clubs, such as Liverpool, Barcelona and Real Madrid, to ask fans to set aside their rivalries and come together to be active, and beat the virus.
“We are delighted that football is strongly supporting the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace by asking everyone to be active and to remain healthy at home during this difficult time”, António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, said in a statement. “FIFA has asked the football community, to show their support, and a new solidarity, so we can overcome the coronavirus. This is an important lesson not only for today, but for every day.”
As part of the campaign, world-famous players share the following message: “At this time, even rivals need to stick together. We have to keep our distance, but we do not lose our focus. We can show solidarity by being active, and active means following the guidelines from the WHO.