Chinese basketball to resume on June 20 after coronavirus

Above, the Mercedes Benz Arena in Shanghai which hosts Chinese Basketball Association games. (AFP file photo)
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Updated 04 June 2020

Chinese basketball to resume on June 20 after coronavirus

  • China’s first major sports league to return to action after the coronavirus

SHANGHAI: The Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) season will resume on June 20, the CBA said on Thursday, becoming the country’s first major sports league to return to action after the coronavirus.
The campaign was halted in February but will return after the number of infections dropped markedly in China, where the pandemic emerged at the end of last year.
The resumption of the CBA puts pressure on football — the other leading sport in China — to similarly get going again after a months-long indefinite postponement.
“With the approval of the sports and health department, CBA league will resume on June 20 and all preparations have entered a substantive stage,” the CBA said on the Twitter-like Weibo.
Defending champions Guangdong ranked first in the league after 30 matches, before the CBA announced in late January that the competition would be suspended from February 1.
Earlier this week, former NBA star Jeremy Lin, now with the Beijing Ducks, said players and fans wanted basketball back as soon as possible.
“We don’t care whether the games are played in empty arenas or under a championship-like competition system,” Lin said.
“We just want to play and let fans see the games on TV or the Internet.”


Tiger Woods cautious about return ahead of Memorial

Updated 15 July 2020

Tiger Woods cautious about return ahead of Memorial

  • PGA Tour officials confirmed that the remainder of the 2019-2020 season would take place without fans

WASHINGTON: Tiger Woods admitted Tuesday that concern over the coronavirus delayed his return to the PGA Tour as he prepares to play his first event since February at this week's Memorial Tournament in Ohio.

The former world No. 1 has not played since appearing in the Genesis Invitational in Los Angeles in February but will tee off at Muirfield on Thursday chasing a sixth victory in the Jack Nicklaus-hosted event.

The 44-year-old 15-time major winner said Tuesday he had contemplated returning to the tour earlier but had wanted to see how the first few events of the post-coronavirus shutdown fared before coming back.

"I just felt it was better to stay at home and be safe," Woods said Tuesday.

"I'm used to playing with lots of people around me or having lots of people have a direct line to me, and that puts not only myself in danger but my friends and family, and just been at home practicing and social distancing and being away from a lot of people.

"Coming back and playing the tour, in my case over the 20-some-odd years I've been out here, that's really hard to say, that I'm used to having so many people around me or even touch me, going from green to tee.

"That's something that I looked at and said, well, I'm really not quite comfortable with that, that whole idea."

Memorial organizers had initially planned to allow fans on the course at this week's tournament, but abandoned that idea as COVID-19 cases across the US began to skyrocket.

On Monday, PGA Tour officials confirmed that the remainder of the 2019-2020 season would take place without fans.

It means Woods will tee off on Thursday alongside world No. 1 Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka without the customary horde of spectators that usually follows him around a course.

"It's going to be different, there's no doubt about it," Woods said.

"For most of my career, pretty much almost every competitive playing round that I've been involved in, I've had people around me, spectators yelling, a lot of movement inside the gallery with camera crews and media."

Woods, who is making only his fourth tournament appearance of the season this week, said he has improved his health during the long layoff.

A stiff back hampered his performance at the Genesis in February, but Woods said he had not been troubled since.

"I feel so much better than I did then," Woods said.

"I've been able to train and concentrate on getting back up to speed and back up to tournament speed.

During Woods' layoff, the US was convulsed by nationwide protests against racism following the death of unarmed African-American man George Floyd during his arrest by police in Minneapolis on May 25.

Woods said he applauded efforts of Black Lives Matter activists to bring about change.

"I think change is fantastic as long as we make changes without hurting the innocent, and unfortunately that has happened. 

Hopefully it doesn't happen in the future, but a movement and change is fantastic," Woods said.

"That's how society develops. That's how we grow. That's how we move forward. That's how we have fairness."