Jan 2020: Good riddance 2020 & welcome 2021?

Well, 2021 has not had such a good start: Lockdowns, riots in Washington, loadshedding, flooding, volcanoes and a host of cancelled sports events means the start of the new year has not been the instant turnaround we hoped for. More importantly, for many, both in South Africans and overseas, the so-called second wave of the pandemic has turned personal with numbers and statistics becoming names and faces.

However, it is not all gloom and doom. Regardless of your views on vaccines, they do signal hope that Covid-19 may finally be brought under control, albeit more than a year after our real-life horror-movie premiered in China.

There are also other positive signs. Worldwide the number of new cases of Covid has finally shown  some signs of dropping: The USA looks like it may have turned a corner; case numbers in India continue on a downward trend; and even in South Africa there are some early indications that the lockdown restrictions may just be having the desired results.

It is surely still way too early to break out the champagne (even if you have managed to save a bottle during the latest round of prohibition) and we are probably not going to be allowed to walk on the beach or take part in any major sporting contests in the short term, but there is a glimmer flickering at the end of a long, dark tunnel. We will, however, still need more time to decide if it really is the beginning of the end or just a candle left over from loadshedding.

Whatever, it does not mean we can relax and let down our guard. The rules of thumb must still be: wear a mask; clean your hands; and keep a safe distance.

There are also some sporting reasons to continue to look forward with a bit of cautious optimism.

Most of the recent sporting changes have been postponements rather than cancellations, so the likes of the Cape Epic, Dusi Canoe Marathon, Ironman and Midmar Mile are still all on the calendar, even if their new dates are unusual.

As we sit in enforced isolation, our TV screens are still filled with international sport, so as much as the empty stadiums lack the atmosphere of traditional sporting rivalries, the televised clashes are welcome reminders of what we have to look forward to. And of course the International Olympic Committee is still cautiously positive that we will have the first Olympics ever to be held in an odd year.

These are all reasons for hope, so, keep training, stay positive and remember to mask, sanitise and maintain a safe distance.

For obvious reasons, the FinishTime sporting calendars below come with a warning to check with the event organisers to ensure events have not been postponed.