Federation Focus: Tennis to Return in August

Also: ITF, World Taekwondo team up with esports; Host for 2021 World Men's Curling Championships; Flying Disc adds members

(ATR) After months of no tennis due to the coronavirus pandemic, the International Tennis Federation announced that the ITF World Tour will resume in August.

The women’s tournaments will return on August 3, while the men’s tournaments will begin on August 17. Both will have singles qualifying, main draw singles and doubles rounds.

"Restoring earning opportunities for athletes at the earliest possible opportunity – in a manner which protects the health and safety of all involved – has been a priority throughout this period." ITF President David Haggerty said in a statement.

The ITF says it will take preventative measures to create a safe, healthy environment for the competitors.

Tournaments will be held without spectators, unless the local and national governments permit them.

This announcement comes after the United States Tennis Association confirmed on Wednesday that the 2020 U.S. Open will go forward as scheduled but without fans. The2020 Southern and Western Open, normally held in suburban Cincinnati, Ohio, will be relocated to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York and held immediately before the U.S. Open begins there on August 31.

The French Open will also be played, with the first match to be held on Sept. 27, two weeks after the U.S. Open ends. Wimbledon was cancelled and will return in 2021.

ITF, World Taekwondo Join Esports Federation

The ITF and World Taekwondo are now members of the Global Esports Federation (GEF).

The move, announced on Tuesday, is part of the GEF’s stated commitment to pioneer the development of sport-based esports or active esports, in addition to growing traditional esports.

The GEF was only launched in December 2019 but its president Chris Chan likes the progress made so far.

"We have experienced an incredible acceleration in our engagement with the world’s International Federations during this unprecedented time," said Chan in a statement.

"The state of play for sport is progressing rapidly. We are set to support the International Federations in joining the world’s publishers, developers and the entire esports community in developing new platforms to evolve a real sport experience in this digital age."

Both the ITF and WT view their foray into esports as a way to grow their respective sports.

"Now more than ever, we need to embrace technological advancement and promote healthy and active lifestyles around the world," said World Taekwondo President Chungwon Choue.

"Esports present a myriad of opportunities for innovation and growth. The International Tennis Federation is keen to play an active part in global development as a Global Esports Federation member," adds ITF COO Kelly Fairweather.

Host Chosen for 2021 World Men's Curling Championships

Ottawa will host the World Men’s Curling Championships 2021, as announced by the World Curling Federation and Curling Canada on Tuesday.

"World-class curling belongs in world-class cities, and Ottawa fits that description perfectly," John Shea, Chair of Curling Canada’s Board of Governors said.

Following an approval from the International Olympic Committee, this tournament will determine the six teams qualified for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 men's curling competition.

Originally, the combined results of the 2020 and 2021 world championships determined Olympic qualification. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the qualification change was proposed to the IOC.

The WCF will continue to monitor the pandemic and will prioritize the safety of the athletes and fans.

This will be the first time the province of Ontario will host the world championship since 1996, when it was hosted by the city of Hamilton.

WFDF Adds Two Members

The World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF) increases its membership to 87 countries.

The WFDF Congress has approved the Cayman Islands Ultimate Association and Malawi Flying Disc Federation as its newest member associations.

WFDF President Robert "Nob" Rauch hopes the additions are a "harbinger of the return to the organized practice of Flying Disc sports around the globe".

Rauch adds that while the Covid-19 pandemic has made efforts to grow the federation"more complicated" he says the WFDF is looking forward to adding other candidates for membership soon.

The WFDF has set a goal of 100 national member federations by the end of 2021.

Written by Jose Chavez and Gerard Farek

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