Monday, March 23, 2020

USAR cancels 2020 National Singles & National Junior Championships

Late today, USA Racquetball sent an email announcing the “difficult but appropriate decision to cancel the National Singles and National Junior Championships scheduled for May and June, respectively” (bold in the original). This is a change from last Wednesday, when USA Racquetball was “fully committed to hosting” those championships.

We thought their commitment was optimistic, and unfortunately that optimism has not been rewarded.

National Singles and the National Junior Championships are USA Team selection events, so alternative arrangements will need to be made to select the US teams. USA Racquetball is “discussing approaches” to how that could be accomplished. Of course, if the International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships (scheduled for August) and World Junior Championships (scheduled for November) are cancelled, then determining US Team members would be unnecessary.

While cancelling the IRF events may seem unlikely, the COVID-19 situation has created a great deal of uncertainty in the world. So much so, that Canada and Australia announced yesterday that they would not be sending athletes to the 2020 Olympics Games in Tokyo if it starts as scheduled on July 24. There is a generally feeling - though no official announcement - that the Olympics will be postponed, maybe even by a year.

While that seems like a good idea, it will have other ramifications. Most Olympic sports are set up on a 4 year - quadrennial - cycle based on when the Olympics occur. There are smaller games that build up to the Olympics. In the Americas, there’s the Central American Games one year, the Central American & Caribbean Games, the next, then the Pan American Games in year three and the Olympics in year four. Moving the Olympics can throw that off.

Also, moving the Olympics can create conflicts with other events. For example, athletics - aka track and field - holds its World Championships every two years in odd numbered years. The 2021 Athletics World Championships are scheduled for August 6-15 in Eugene, Oregon.

Back within racquetball, the 2020 IRF World Championships are also supposed to be the qualification event for the 2021 World Games in Birmingham, Alabama. If Worlds, don’t happen, then it’s unclear how players will qualify for the World Games. Bigger picture, if the Olympics do happen in 2021, then they may conflict with the World Games, which probably won’t make people in Birmingham happy, and there would be less attention for an event that will feature racquetball.

So, COVID-19 has changed our current conditions, and will for some time. But COVID-19 will also have a “hangover” for future conditions, as we recover from it.

We wish you the best in these current conditions, and that any hangovers are minimal.

Follow the bouncing ball….

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