Coronavirus: Here’s what’s happening in the sports world on Thursday

The latest on how the coronavirus outbreak is affecting sports around the globe:

Olympics need dates for opening, closing ceremonies

Nothing much can get done until those dates are worked out by the International Olympic Committee, the Japanese government and Tokyo organizers.

“We must decide this soon, otherwise it will be hard to decide on other things to follow,” Toshiro Muto, the CEO of the organizing committee, told his 30 senior directors seated in a large meeting room on Thursday.

Two days after the unprecedented postponement was announced, the group gathered for the first meeting of what is being called the “Tokyo 2020 New Launch Task Force.” They must put the Olympics back together after they were torn apart by the coronavirus pandemic.

WNBA draft going virtual route

The league announced Thursday that its draft will still be held April 17 as originally scheduled, but without players, fans or media in attendance due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The WNBA draft is a time to celebrate the exceptional athletes whose hard work and dreams are realized with their selections in the draft,” WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said. “Safeguarding the health and well-being of our prospects, players, employees, and everyone connected to our game as well as the general public is paramount.”

Logistics of the draft are still being worked out with ESPN although Engelbert confirmed she would announce the picks that night on the league’s broadcast partner’s network. She just isn’t sure where she’ll be doing it from; it could be her house, the league offices or another location.

Turkish boxer, trainer test positive after Olympic qualifier

The Turkish Boxing Federation says national team member Serhat Guler and trainer Seyfullah Dumlupinar tested positive for the coronavirus after returning from an Olympic qualifying competition in London.

The federation says the boxing team went to a training camp in Sheffield on March 3 to prepare for the competition and travelled to London on March 11. All team members stayed at the same hotel and ate at the same cafeteria.

The IOC is running the qualifying competitions for boxing because governing body AIBA has been suspended.

The Turkish team competed on March 15 and 16 and returned home on March 17 after the IOC halted the competition. All team members were quarantined on return.

Rafael Nadal, Pau Gasol encouraging donations in Spain

Rafael Nadal and Pau Gasol have launched a campaign to encourage donations in the hope of raising 11 million euros ($12.1 million US) to help Spain fight the coronavirus.

The tennis and basketball stars said in videos posted on social media that they are supporting a Red Cross fundraising effort to help with the public health crisis.

Nadal and Gasol say they have made donations and urged others to follow their lead. Former Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas quickly said he would pitch in.

Nadal says “I believe that we are who we are in large part thanks to your support and now we have to be there for you.”

Spain has 56,188 infections and more than 4,000 fatalities from the virus.

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