The Australian Open has lessons for large sports events in Singapore
Australia is split down the middle of an Australian Open muddle, livid that millionaire tennis players flying in
for the tournament could possibly wreck months of hard work in keeping communities safe from COVID-19
and returning to some sort of normalcy.
And it is hard to blame them.
See, Australians had to seriously commit to the cause. In Melbourne, where the Australian Open proper
will take place from Feb 8 to Feb 21, police enforced a strict four-month lockdown between July and
October 2020, which led to businesses and schools closing.
Residents were allowed outside for an hour each day – later extended to two hours – to exercise or run
errands like grocery shopping, and even then, had to remain within three miles (4.8km) of their home
unless they had a permit.
Across the net from livid Australians in Melbourne, are organisers who put together an expensive
authorities-approved plan to bring tennis back to a country madly in love with the sport – a tournament
that could well bring with it a bright spark in this pandemic gloom.
And here is the problem with all of this: Both factions raise valid points - points from across either end
of the spectrum that make sense on a visceral level.
But despite best intentions and preparation directed by expert advice, things can go wrong. And with
this stubborn virus, implications can be terrible.
None of those factions are wrong. And indeed, they may all have been guided by the best intentions.
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