This year’s Tokyo Marathon, which was supposed to see more than 38,000 runners, only catered to 200 elite runners

By Nicole Ganglani | Photo from Inquirer Sports

Last February, International Olympic Committee senior member Dick Pond mentioned the possibility of canceling the 2020 Tokyo Olympics due to the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19). The Olympics, considered the greatest sporting event in the world, has only been canceled thrice (in 1916, 1940 and 1944) during the World Wars. The probability of another cancellation this year goes to show the impact the virus has to the global sports scene. 

As of writing, there are now more than 88,000 confirmed cases with over 3,000 deaths reported. COVID-19 also has been detected in more than 70 countries. The World Health Organization continues to advise everyone to take necessary precautions as we brace for a potential pandemic. 

Here’s a round-up of major sporting events that have been canceled or postponed due to the COVID-19: 

ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi

The International Triathlon Union has postponed the 2020 ITU World Triathlon tournament, which was supposed to take place from Mar. 5 to 7 in Abu Dhabi. Around 2,500 age group athletes and 300 elite athletes were supposed to participate in the tournament. 

Other Triathlon Events

The World Cup in Chengdu, China scheduled on May 10 has been postponed as well as the the Asian Cup in Dexing, China on Apr. 11. Challenge Taiwan 2020 which was scheduled for Apr. 25-26 has also been postponed to a latter date. 

UAE Tour 

The Union Cycliste Internationale canceled the remaining stages of the UAE Team Emirates cycling tour after two staff members of one of the participating teams had tested positive. 


The 2020 World Athletics Indoor Championships, which was supposed to take place in Nanjing from Mar. 13 to 15, has been postponed to next year. 

Tokyo Marathon 

One of the largest races in the world, the Tokyo Marathon last Mar. 1, Sunday was restricted to elite runners and wheelchair athletes. An estimated 38,000 participants were expected but only about 200 runners competed. 

Olympic Qualifiers and Test Events

The Japan Para-Sports Association called off the first Olympic test event, specifically the Paralympic wheelchair rugby that was scheduled from Mar. 12 to 15 in Tokyo. The Federation International Basketball Association also postponed several events including the 3×3 cup and U17 Asia Cup where the Philippines was supposed to participate. 


The Swiss Football League postponed its weekend games (Raiffeisen Super League and the Challenge League) until further notice. The league also announced a temporary halt to events that are expecting more than 1,000 people. 


The FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifier games including the Philippines vs Thailand clash had been postponed. 


The European Tour canceled the April Maybank Championships in Malaysia and its events the following week in China. 

Table Tennis

The World Team Championships in Busan, South Korea originally scheduled from May 22 to 29 has been rescheduled to June 21 to 28 while the South Korea Open in Busan (June 16 to 21) and Australian Open in Geelong (June 23 to 28) were canceled until further notice. 


The Fed Cup Asia-Oceania Group I tournament, which was supposed to be held in Dongguan, China was moved to the United Arab Emirates from Mar. 3-7. The Indian Wells Masters, also known as the BNP Paribas Open which was scheduled to start on March 9 has also been cancelled. The French Open (May 24 – June 7) has also been moved to Sept.20. 

E-Sports: League of Legends

The 2020 League of Legends LPL Spring tournament has been postponed until further notice. 

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive the latest sports news and active lifestyle and fitness features you need