The China Sports Column is a SupChina weekly feature.
Shanghai Grand Prix
Following major postponements of the Chinese Basketball Association — which is in the middle of its season — and the start of the Chinese Super League (soccer), as well as nearly every sporting event set to take place in China, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) delayed the Shanghai Grand Prix until further notice, following a request from the race’s promoter, Juss Sports Group.
The race had been slated to take place on April 19 as the fourth race in the F1 calendar. However, with a 22-race calendar — the most in a single season — it is looking unlikely that the race will rescheduled.
The last time a race was “postponed” was in 2011 with the Bahrain GP due to pro-democracy protests. It returned the following season.
Suggestions of a swap with Russia, which is scheduled to host a race in September, makes sense, but it is unlikely that Russian organizers will budge on their already agreed-upon spot in the race calendar.
Another potential option has been to push back the Abu Dhabi GP a week at the end of the season and pencil Shanghai in as the penultimate race in November. Again, this looks unlikely due to the mammoth task of rescheduling races, and also because November weather in Shanghai is unpredictable.
The COVID-19 epidemic has also caused F1 to review the Vietnam GP, which had been scheduled to make its F1 debut two weeks before Shanghai.
As first reported by South China Morning Post, Hong Kong’s premier sports event, the Rugby Sevens, has been postponed.
This year’s tournament was due to take place from April 3 to 5. It has been pushed back to October 16 to 18.
HK Sevens is one of the key events on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series calendar and brings millions of dollars to the city. The organizers, city, and fans will be relieved to know that the event isn’t outright cancelled — assuming the spread of the coronavirus has been checked by October, that is.
In addition, the Singapore event, which was originally set for the weekend following HK Sevens, has also been pushed back to October.
This is the first time in the storied history of the tournament that the event has been postponed.
Chinese women’s team head to crunch match in Olympic qualifiers
The Chinese women’s national soccer side will play a home-and-away against South Korea to determine who gets a spot in the Tokyo Olympics.
The Chinese team, despite limited practice due to the coronavirus, turned in a spirited performance in a qualifying tournament in Australia. The tournament was originally set to be held in Wuhan but was moved to Australia via Nanjing, and saw the national side battle to two wins and a draw in its group.
The final game group play game was against the host country. A goal from Táng Jiālì 唐佳丽in the 86th minute gave China the lead, but Australia equalized in the 93rd minute. China had seven shots versus four for Australia, and played well despite the absence of star playmaker Wáng Shuāng 王霜, who was out with an injury.
China finished in second place due to goal differential. The Steel Roses will now face South Korea in a two-legged playoff. Unfortunately, the Chinese side will have to play its “home” game at a neutral venue outside of the country.
Finally, here’s an article that caught our eye, from the Associated Press:
The coronavirus outbreak that began in China is affecting the production of hockey sticks used by the world’s top players, raising concerns about a potential shortage. Two major manufacturers, Bauer and CCM, have factories in China that have closed.
Players are beginning to make preparations in case stick supplies dry up.
The China Sports Column runs every week on SupChina.