As South Africans grapple with the effects of the coronavirus outbreak, Madibaz director of sport Yoliswa Lumka says the safety of their student-athletes and staff was the top priority.
With the country under a 21-day lockdown a multitude of events, leagues and competitions have been cancelled or postponed, upsetting the plans of many institutions, student sportsmen and women.
“The most important message is for all of our student-athletes, staff and officials to stay safe and healthy, to look after themselves and their families at this time,” said Lumka.
“We will follow the guidelines as set by our principals for as long as possible to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff.”
The national lockdown is due to end on April 16.
One of the biggest impacts caused by Covid-19, she added, was the postponement of the Olympic Games in Tokyo. The dates have been moved by 12 months and they will now take place from July 23 to August 8 next year.
“The postponement of the Olympics is huge and it is something that has never happened before, besides three previous cancellations [due to world events].
“The new dates for the Olympics and Paralympics could affect the World Student Games in 2021 as they come soon after the Tokyo Games. FISU recently updated the [World Student Games] dates to August 18-29 next year.”
Lumka added that various events were under discussion as to the viability of them taking place this year.
“When institutions re-open, priority will be to stabilise and catch-up on the academic programmes,” she said.
“There are ongoing talks about the CUCSA [Confederation of University and Colleges Sports Associations] Games scheduled in Maseru, Lesotho from July 27 to August 3 and a decision is due later this week.
“In addition, the national executive committee of USSA [University Sport South Africa] will convene on April 20 to assess the status of these tournaments and to provide a plan on the way forward.”
The USSA winter national championships traditionally take place in the first week of July.