What's the story?
The organizers of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament have decided to postpone the event in the wake of the rapidly spreading Coronavirus. The tournament was scheduled to be held in Ipoh, Malaysia, from April 11 to 18, but will now be held from September 24 to October 3.
In case you did not know
The Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, which began in 1983, is an international men's hockey tournament that is held every year in Malaysia. The countries participating in the 2020 edition of the tournament are Australia, Canada, Japan, hosts Malaysia, Pakistan, and South Korea. India, a regular at this event, will not participate this year.
Heart of the matter
Here's what the chairman of the Organizing Committee, Dato' Haji Abd Rahim Bin Md., said in a statement:
“It is in the best interest of the players, officials and all parties involved that the 29th edition of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Men's Hockey Tournament 2020 to be postponed.”
He further added:
"The outbreak of COVID-19 which is spreading rapidly in Korea and Japan. The health and well-being of the teams, especially Australia, Canada and Japan should be taken into consideration as not to jeopardize their preparation for the Tokyo Olympics.”
The Organizing Committee expressed regret for the inconvenience but said that the decision was taken keeping in mind the current scenario across the world.
It remains to be seen if the delay in the tournament will cause a hindrance in the participating teams' preparation and performance. It will also be interesting to see if South Korea, who are the defending champions, are able to walk away with the trophy for the second time in a row.