Singapore Sevens in April set to be postponed due to coronavirus outbreak

SINGAPORE – The Singapore Rugby Sevens is the latest local sporting event affected by the coronavirus outbreak, with various international media on Thursday (Feb 13) reporting the April 11-12 tournament has been postponed until October.

The Hong Kong Sevens, scheduled for April 3-6, will also be pushed back to October, the news agencies noted.

The Straits Times has reached out to the organisers in Singapore and understands a formal announcement will be made on Thursday afternoon.

Both events are part of the prestigious HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. The 2019/2020 season has 10 legs and began in Dubai in December 2019.

After four stops, New Zealand lead the current standings with 76 points, nine ahead of South Africa. France are third on 56 points. Defending champions and Olympic gold medallists Fiji are fifth on 53 points.

Paris was originally slated to host the finale on May 31 but the postponement of the Hong Kong and Singapore events will extend the season until October.

The Republic rejoined the Sevens Series hosting circuit in 2016 after a nine-year absence and that edition drew 52,000 fans to the National Stadium. It was the first of a four-year deal which has renewed for another four years until 2023.

Last year’s tournament drew 57,000 fans over the weekend and also featured international music acts like Smash Mouth and Broadway’s Rock of Ages band.

The coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has more than 45,000 cases worldwide and killed more than 1,100 people.

It has led to the cancellation or postponement of numerous high profile international sporting events, including the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix in April and March’s World Indoor Athletics Championships which was to be hosted in Nanjing.

In Singapore, the Feb 27-Mar 1 HSBC Women’s World Championship golf tournament has been dropped.

Last Friday, the country’s Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (Dorscon) was upped to “orange” as the virus spread further within the country, with more new cases of unknown origin announced.

Singapore’s Ministry of Education has announced the suspension of the National School Games till next month, while organisations and national sports associations such as Special Olympics Singapore, the Singapore Disability Sports Council, Singapore Canoe Federation, Singapore Dragon Boat Association, and Fencing Singapore have cancelled their programmes and events.

However, some sports events were held. The Netball Super League last Saturday was played behind closed doors at Our Tampines Hub while the Asean Basketball League game between the Singapore Slingers and Taipei Fubon Braves on Sunday drew 1,800 fans to the OCBC Arena.

The Singapore Premier League football competition will also kick off as scheduled on Feb 29, and the Football Association of Singapore said it would carry out precautionary measures such as temperature screening.

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