Virus shows no respect for stars or youth

Agence France-Presse . Paris | Published: 22:01, Mar 27,2020

 
 

Brazilian football star Neymar  (L) poses for a photograph with his friends in a beach in Brazil on Thursday. — Instragram photo

High-level sports was one of the first social activities shut down by the coronavirus pandemic and many athletes, who play in front of crowds and train with team-mates, have been among the high-profile victims.

While only one sports personality, the 76-year-old former Real Madrid president, Lorenzo Sanz, has so far died, those infected spread across the age range and the sporting spectrum, with clusters in Italian football, the NBA and cycling.

The numbers could be higher because not all clubs are testing.

Valladolid in the Spanish Liga rejected test kits saying they should be used on those who need them.

The NBA’s Golden State Warriors said they would only test players with symptoms.

‘We’re treating ourselves like people, which is what we are,’ said general manager Bob Myers. ‘We’re just a basketball team.’

Here, AFP Sport looks at some of the most high-profile cases.

-- Sanz, who died on March 21, was in charge of Real Madrid from 1995-2000, overseeing two Champions League titles.

‘My father has just passed away. He did not deserve this ending and in this way,’ tweeted his son, Lorenzo Sanz junior.

-- On March 17, while the International Olympic Committee and local organisers were still insisting the Tokyo Games would go ahead as scheduled this summer, Japan Olympic Committee deputy chief Kozo Tashima said he had contracted coronavirus.

‘I have a mild fever. Examinations showed a symptom of pneumonia, but I’m fine,’ the 62-year-old Tashima said in a statement, issued via the Japan Football Association, which he also heads.

-- Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta tested positive for COVID-19. The English Premier League was suspended the day after the Gunners announced Arteta had tested positive.

As a result of the Spaniard’s diagnosis, the Arsenal squad were sent into self-isolation for 14 days.

-- Callum Hudson-Odoi, the 19-year-old Chelsea and England winger on March 13 became the first Premier League player to test positive.

The club said at the time that the teenager was ‘doing well.’

-- Among other young, rising, stars to catch the virus is 20-year-old Brazilian tennis player Thiago Seyboth Wild who announced on Wednesday that he had tested positive.

He said he started feeling ill ‘about 10 days ago.’

That came after a globe-trotting period typical of the tennis circuit.

On March 1, Seyboth Wild won his first ATP title in Santiago Chile. The following week he played in a Davis Cup tie in Adelaide, Australia.

‘I really don’t think he’s the only player who has it,’ former player Lindsey Davenport told Tennis Channel. ‘We have so many players all over the world.’

-- Former NBA season MVP, Kevin Durant, a 31-year-old forward former NBA most valuable player,is one of four Brooklyn Nets players to have tested positive. The forward had been sitting out the season recovering from an Achilles injury.

-- Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus. The Frenchman had to apologise after pointedly touching every microphone and voice recorder on a table in front of him at a media conference, only to then test positive for COVID-19.

--  Defender Daniele Rugani at Italian champions Juventus was the first player from Italy’s Serie A to test positive.

Since then, team-mates Blaise Matuidi, a World Cup winner with France, and star striker Paulo Dybala have  tested positive.

-- Former AC Milan defender Paolo Maldini, another World Cup winner, and his footballer son Daniel announced they were positive.

-- Six players at Sampdoria, Bartosz Bereszynski, Albin Ekdal, Morten Thorsby, Antonio La Gumina, Manolo Gabbiadini and Fabio Depaoli, along with team doctor Amedo Baldari, have tested positive. But team-mate Omar Colley said reports that he had tested positive were wrong.

-- In Spain, centre-backs Ezequiel Garay from Argentina and Frenchman Eliaquim Mangala are among five cases.

-- In Germany, Luca Kilian is among four known cases in the Bundesliga but the news is good for the 20-year-old Paderborn defender. The club’s sporting director, Martin Przondziono, told German media Kilian ‘had two days of real trouble, with fever and chills, but he’s better now.’

-- Turkish iconic coach, Fatih Terim, 66-year-old manager of Istanbul football giants Galatasaray, has tested positive.

-- Belgian midfielder Marouane Fellaini, the former Manchester United and Everton midfielder who is with Shandong Luneng Taishan in China also reported that he had tested positive.

-- Former England cricketer Alex Hales self-isolated after showing symptoms. Two other England cricketers, Tom Curran and Jade Dernbach, who had gone out to play darts with Hales to celebrate Curran’s 25th birthday, also self-isolated.

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