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Coronavirus: London world champion swimmer reacts to Canada’s withdrawal from Tokyo Olympics – Global News

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London-born world champion swimmer Maggie MacNeil says she agrees with the Canadian Olympic Committee’s (COC) decision to keep Canadian athletes from attending the 2020 Summer Olympics if the Games aren’t pushed back amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Games are set to begin in Tokyo, Japan, on July 24, with the Paralympics slated to follow on Aug. 25. The COC announced Sunday it wouldn’t send a team unless the Games were postponed until the summer of 2021, a move that was praised by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and quickly followed by the Australian Olympic Committee.

“It’s definitely the best decision for society as a whole, and the seriousness of this is something you really have to consider and take seriously, especially among the older population,” MacNeil told Craig Needles of Global News Radio 980 CFPL on Monday.

The 20-year-old MacNeil was expected to be among those travelling to Tokyo as part of Team Canada and was considered a medal favourite. MacNeil won a gold medal in the 100-metre butterfly at the world championships last summer in South Korea, dethroning Olympic champion Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden. With countless cancellations, however, only 57 per cent of Olympic qualification spots have been determined.

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The decision of whether to postpone the Games lies with the International Olympic Committee (IOC). MacNeil said she hopes some other large countries follow Canada and Australia’s lead in pulling their athletes and calling for the Games to be delayed, forcing the IOC’s hand.


READ MORE:
Coronavirus: Canada refuses to send athletes to Tokyo Olympics unless Games postponed

“I honestly think the best way to go forward is to postpone at least a year,” she said. “Hopefully there’ll be vaccines or it will just have died down a lot. … I think the Olympics will be something we really need after what we’ve gone through this year.”

“It actually would work out quite well, having it in Japan next summer. That’s where the world championships are supposed to be anyway,” McNeil said, referring to the 2021 FINA World Aquatics Championships. The event is set to take place from July 16 until Aug. 1 in Fukuoka, Japan.

“It would hurt if they go along, but honestly I don’t think they will at this point,” MacNeil said of the unlikely possibility the Games could go ahead as planned. “It’s really nice to have a definitive answer on Canada’s part because the last week and a half since I’ve been home it’s just been uncertainty after uncertainty.”

Veteran International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound of Montreal believes the 2020 Tokyo Games will be pushed back, telling the Canadian Press in a telephone interview: “You’re looking at a postponement. I think that’s out there now.”

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READ MORE:
Coronavirus: Canadian IOC member expects 2020 Olympics will be postponed

“We’re all reading the tea leaves and so on, but the Japanese themselves are talking about postponing,” he said. “A lot of National Olympic Committees and countries are calling for a postponement.”

The IOC and Japan’s organizing committee had consistently said the Games would go ahead as planned. But Abe changed his tune Sunday, saying a postponement of the Tokyo Games would be unavoidable if the Games cannot be held in a complete way because of the coronavirus.

Thomas Bach, the organization’s president, said Sunday morning they were considering options including postponement and said a decision would be made within four weeks. Cancelling the Games entirely was not being considered, he said.


READ MORE:
IOC position on Tokyo Olympics draws mixed reaction from Canadian athletes

In an interview with the Canadian Press, David Shoemaker, COC’s CEO, said waiting that long for a decision would force athletes to continue to train amid the pandemic. The move to pull athletes from the Games came after conference calls Sunday among Canada’s major Olympic players.

Shoemaker said the turning point in discussions on how to proceed came when the federal government put an emphasis on the importance of flattening the curve and social distancing.

The question, Shoemaker said, wasn’t so much whether they could send athletes, coaches, mission team members, and fans to Tokyo to compete safely in July.

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“The question was whether it was fair and appropriate to ask our athletes to be training for those Olympics in July today here in Canada, and put themselves, their families and their communities at risk,” he said.

“The answer to that question was no.”






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Coronavirus outbreak: Canada won’t send team to Olympics unless it’s postponed 1 year


Coronavirus outbreak: Canada won’t send team to Olympics unless it’s postponed 1 year

As of Monday, there have been more than 1,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada, with 112 recoveries and 25 deaths. Globally, the number of confirmed cases stands at more than 372,000 as of Monday afternoon, with more than 16,000 deaths. Nearly 100,000 people have recovered.

Both governing bodies for track and field and swimming in the United States have called on their Olympic officials to push for a postponement. National Olympic committees in Brazil, Slovenia and Norway are among those pushing for a postponement until the global health crisis subsides.

Since the first modern Olympics in Athens in 1896, only World Wars have cancelled Games in 1916, 1940 and 1944.

There have been three major boycotts, in 1976 in Montreal, 1980 and 1984.

— With files from Lori Ewing and Donna Spencer of The Canadian Press

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Agent says Alexander Barabanov won’t rush NHL decision – TSN

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The NHL season may be paused indefinitely, but the Toronto Maple Leafs’ pursuit of KHL free agent Alexander Barabanov has continued to pick up steam.

Leafs’ general manager Kyle Dubas confirmed his club’s interest in signing the Russian winger during a media conference call on Tuesday.

TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger reported that the Leafs and Arizona Coyotes were front-runners for Barabanov’s services, and that both teams had been after him for more than two years.

“He’s going through a process of interviewing teams, and there’s no timeline [on that],” Barabanov’s agent, Dan Milstein, told TSN on Wednesday. “But in another week or less depending [on how things progress], he is going to decide whether to stay in the KHL or come over to North America. There are more than a couple clubs with significant interest.”

Until now though, the 25-year-old had been content growing his game in the KHL. Never drafted by an NHL team, Barabanov has spent the entirety of his seven-year professional career with St. Petersburg SKA.

The 2018-19 campaign was Barabanov’s best, when he produced 46 points (17 goals, 29 assists) in 58 games. His numbers took a dip in 2019-20 (11 goals, nine assists in 43 games), but that hasn’t affected the Leafs’ level of interest or changed what attracted them to Barabanov in the first place.

“He’s strong. He’s not tall (at 5-foot-10), but he’s a very strong winger,” Dubas said on Tuesday. “Tremendous playmaking ability, great skill level in tight. But one of the other things we like most about him is his ability to make plays under pressure and his ability to win pucks, protect pucks when people come after him and use his strength to be able to do that. So, he’s a playmaking winger who also has the ability to finish at the net and we’ll continue to pursue him as best we can.”​

TSN’s Director of Scouting Craig Button said that in Barabanov, the Leafs would have a player who ”works, has desire, and competes pretty well.” Button sees him in the same vein as former Maple Leafs’ forward Dmytro Timashov, who was a rotating healthy scratch on the team’s fourth line for 39 games this season before being placed on waivers and subsequently claimed by Detroit.

“I don’t think there’s downside to signing free agents like this,” Button said. “Barabanov’s a bottom-of-the-forward-group type player, so nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

Although the global COVID-19 pandemic is preventing Leafs’ personnel from travelling overseas, Dubas said the work put in by senior director of player evaluation Jim Paliafito has already built a solid foundation between the team and players they’re interested in.

That makes it easier to keep expanding those relationships electronically, and the Leafs track record of luring other KHL and European free agents, like Nikita Zaitsev, Calle Rosen and Ilya Mikheyev, boosts their stock as well.

“There are players that we’re interested in and we’re competing with many other teams to try to gain recruitment,” Dubas said. “And our hope is that the ability of the players that have come over from Europe since Jim been with us to quickly transition to pro hockey in North America will be a big help for us.”

It’s especially imperative now that Toronto be creative in making acquisitions. The Leafs are already pressed right up against the salary cap, and with uncertainty surrounding whether the cap will increase at all next season following the league’s pause, filling out the bottom of the roster with players on manageable entry-level deals is all the more important.

“[Paliafito]’s got a great read early on, on who the players are that we’re probably going to look after,” Dubas said. “He does a great job communicating back to the organization and to our player personnel department to take a look at players, whether it’s live or breaking down their video. And then he’s able to begin having conversations with them and their agents during the year to kind of get a handle on it.”

Should Barabanov want any insight on the challenges of jumping into North American hockey, he’s got plenty of sounding boards available to help.

Two of Barabanov’s former teammates with SKA – Igor Ozhiganov and Miro Aaltonen – previously spent one season each in the Leafs’ organization, although Aaltonen only suited up for the American Hockey League’s Toronto Marlies.

Barabanov has also represented the Russian national team alongside multiple NHLers, including Alexander Ovechkin, winning Olympic gold with the Olympic Athletes from Russia in 2018 and earning a series of bronze medals (at the 2014 World Juniors, and 2017 and 2019 World Championships).

Those connections could play a key role in pushing Barabanov towards his next destination; one piece of a methodical, long-term process he’s undertaken to make the best choice possible. And he won’t be rushed.

“He’s talking to teams, and him and his wife are considering the interest,” Milstein said. “I’m going to continue working with him and looking at different aspects of his options. He could decide at any time. But this isn’t something that all of a sudden came about. He’s been watching a lot of the NHL games and has a lot of friends in the NHL, he played on a line with Ovechkin [with the national team], played with a lot of NHLers in the past. It’s a variety of different things influencing him.”

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Wimbledon cancelled due to public concerns over coronavirus pandemic – CBC.ca

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Wimbledon was cancelled on Wednesday because of the coronavirus pandemic, the first time since World War II that the oldest Grand Slam tennis tournament won’t be played.

After an emergency meeting, the All England Club announced that the event it refers to simply as “The Championships” is being scrapped for 2020.

Wimbledon was scheduled to be played on the club’s grass courts on the outskirts of London from June 29 to July 12.

Instead, the next edition of the tournament will be June 28 to July 11, 2021.

Also Wednesday, the ATP and WTA announced that the men’s and women’s professional tennis tours would be suspended until at least July 13. They already had been on hold through June 7.

Wimbledon first was held in 1877 and has been contested every year since, with the exception of two stretches: from 1915-18 because of World War I, and from 1940-45 because of World War II.

“It has weighed heavily on our minds that the staging of The Championships has only been interrupted previously by World Wars,” club chairman Ian Hewitt said in a statement.

“But following thorough and extensive consideration of all scenarios, we believe that it is a measure of this global crisis that it is ultimately the right decision to cancel this year’s Championships, and instead concentrate on how we can use the breadth of Wimbledon’s resources to help those in our local communities and beyond.”

U.S. Open still a go

Wimbledon joins the growing list of sports events called off completely in 2020 because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

That includes the Tokyo Olympics, which have been pushed back by 12 months, and the NCAA men’s and women’s college basketball tournaments.

Wimbledon is the first major tennis championship completely wiped out this year because of the coronavirus. The start of the French Open was postponed from late May to late September.

As of now, the U.S. Open is still scheduled to be played in New York from Aug. 31 to Sept. 13.

Wednesday’s decision means Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep will not get a chance to defend their Wimbledon titles from 2019.

The cancellation also takes away what might have been one of Roger Federer’s best chances to try to add to his 20 Grand Slam titles, including a record eight at Wimbledon, where he lost a fifth-set tiebreaker to Djokovic in the last final after holding a pair of championship points. Federer, who turns 39 in August, is currently recovering from knee surgery and planned to return in time for the grass-court circuit.

In a statement last week, the All England Club said that postponing the two-week event would not come “without significant risk and difficulty” because of the grass surface. The club also said then that it already had ruled out “playing behind closed doors” without spectators.

French Open moved to September

The tennis schedule already had been affected by the COVID-19 illness that has spread around the world, with about 20 tournaments postponed or cancelled.

The French Tennis Federation announced March 17 that its Grand Slam tournament was being moved to September.

Hundreds of thousands of people have caught COVID-19, and thousands have died. For most people, it causes mild or moderate symptoms, which can include fever and cough, but also milder cases of pneumonia, sometimes requiring hospitalization. The risk of death is greater for older adults and people with other health problems.

According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.

Regular day-to-day life has come to a halt in many ways in many parts of the world in recent weeks, and sports has reflected that.

The NBA, NHL and MLB are on hold indefinitely; the Kentucky Derby, Masters and Indianapolis 500 were pushed back several months until September; the European soccer championship — scheduled to end in London on the same day as the Wimbledon men’s final — was postponed from 2020 to 2021.

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Senators say four more members of organization tested positive for COVID-19 – Sportsnet.ca

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The Ottawa Senators say four additional members of the organization have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total to six.

The team announced Wednesday that the people in question travelled with the team to California before the NHL suspended its season March 12 because of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The Senators revealed last month that two players had also tested positive. The three-paragraph statement issued Wednesday said, “All test results have now been received, and all those who tested positive have recovered.”

The team did not specify if the additional cases were players, coaches or other members of Ottawa’s staff. Senators radio colour commentator Gord Wilson disclosed Friday he had tested positive.

Two members of the Colorado Avalanche also tested positive for COVID-19.

NHL players have been advised by the league to self-quarantine since March 13. That directive was subsequently extended to March 27 and then pushed back further to April 15 on Tuesday.

The Senators met the Sharks in San Jose, Calif., on March 7 despite a recommendation from officials in Santa Clara County against holding large public gatherings. The Avalanche played at SAP Center the following night.

Ottawa had two days off in California following their game in San Jose before meeting the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings. Ottawa’s game at the Staples Center on March 11 came 24 hours after the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets — who had four players test positive — played at the same arena against the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Avalanche faced off against the Kings at Staples Center on March 9.

Senators winger Brady Tkachuk said on an NHL-run video conference call Monday that the first two Ottawa players to test positive were “doing well.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has killed thousands of people across the globe, devastated economies and brought about an era of social distancing and self-isolation.

Most people diagnosed with COVID-19 experience mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, and the vast majority of those who contract the virus recover. Some may have few, if any symptoms, or may not know they’re infected because symptoms of the novel coronavirus are similar to a cold or flu.

But for some, including Canadians aged 65 and over, those with compromised immune systems and those with pre-existing conditions, the illness can be much more severe.

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