After intense pressure from Nigerians, the federal government on Tuesday, March 17 announced the indefinite postponement of the 20th National Sports festival as a precautionary measure against further spread of the deadly coronavirus.
The outbreak of COVID-19 was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei, China, in December 2019 and recognised as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 11 March 2020. As of 18 March, more than 220,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in over 150 countries and territories, resulting in more than 8,900 deaths and 85,000 recoveries.
Since coronavirus is highly contagious, sporting activities which usually attract huge gatherings are therefore hit by postponements and sometimes outright cancellations as the world battles to contain the fast spreading epidemic.
For instance, the Premier League, Serie A, La Liga, Bundesliga and Ligue 1 which are the top five football leagues in Europe were promptly suspended when the virus sneaked into the clubs.
Apart from club football, UEFA also postponed till 2021, the prestigious EURO football championship which would was to hold from June 11 to July 11.
The Confederation of Africa Football, CAF, also responded by suspending qualifiers for the 2021 AFCON as well as its inter-club competitions like the Champions League and Confederations Cup.
FIFA itself has just announced the suspension of the revamped club World Cup.
In addition, other prominent sporting events like the NBA in the US, the French Open which usually opens the grand slams in tennis and the US Masters, the first men’s golfing major of the year, have been postponed,
The season-opening Australian Grand Prix was also called off along with the races in Bahrain and Vietnam, with the start of the season set to be pushed back to June.
Furthermore, the opening four races of the MotoGP season in Qatar, Thailand, the United States and now Argentina were called off.
The Qatar race was cancelled, while the other three have been moved to later in the season, which is now due to get under way in Spain on May 3.
Indeed, it has been a total lockdown for sports in the world over COVID-19 fears.
However, while the rest of the world submitted to the deadly virus, sporting activities continued in Nigeria to the shock of many who know exactly the consequences of such audacity.
Obviously, the feeling that the killer virus was not yet rampant in the country and could be controlled was responsible for this risky