Poor air quality in Melbourne is threatening to seriously impact the 2020 Australian Open. Organisers were forced to delay the start of the competitions qualifying tournament earlier in the week and practices were suspended after smoke from the country’s bushfires was blown over Melbourne Park and the surrounding areas. Players who have been forced to compete in qualifiers have already complained about the poor air quality and as such, the competition organisers will have decisions to be made about when play in the main tournament will commence. This isn’t the only time strange weather conditions have affected sporting events though and we’ve looked back at a few of the others. We aren’t talking your usual rain stops play at Lords or Wimbledon though, we are looking at the extraordinary times when Mother Nature has caused havoc on sports.
1975: Cricket County Championship
Snow stops play! Not the most common thing you’ll see on a cricket scorecard, especially in June! Back in 1975, Britain was going through a heat wave but when the players from Derbyshire and Lancashire woke up on the morning of Monday, June 2nd in 1975, they found that Buxton was covered in snow and the day’s play was abandoned!
2010: Winter Olympics
It’s not often that good weather stops sport but that was the case during the 2010 Winter Olympics! High temperatures in Vancouver caused havoc and snow had to be hauled in from elsewhere for the freestyle and snowboarding courses as the original snow and ice melted!
2009: Malaysian Grand Prix
In 2009, the Malaysian Grand Prix was scheduled to last 56 laps but had to be stopped after 31 as a huge thunderstorm came in. The track fell into darkness and the rainfall was very, very heavy. The drivers could hardly see due to a combination of poor light and the spray on the tracks. Jenson Button, who was leading at the time, was awarded the win when it was decided that the race needed to be halted for safety purposes.
2016: Northern Ireland v Ukraine
During the Euro 2016 match between Northern Ireland and Ukraine in Lyon, France, play had to be halted due to a massive hail storm.
2007: South African PSL
During a PSL match between the Orlando Pirates and the Black Leopards at Ellis Park stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, numerous players were injured when a huge windstorm hit the stadium, causing barriers and advertising hoardings to fly onto the pitch!
An NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Denver Broncos was delayed for almost an hour and a half as spectators, players and coaches were forced to seek shelter due to lightning strikes in the Florida area.
2006: Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy
Sun stops play! In cricket! That actually happened! In a Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy match between Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire at the County Ground back in 2006, the sun was so low that it made it impossible for batsmen to see the ball, so the players had to go off until it got a bit darker!
2014: Australian Open
During the 2014 Australian Open, organisers implemented the Extreme Heat Policy when the temperature reached 42C, meaning play was suspended to protect the players.
2013: WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship
Back on February 20th, 2013, play was stopped at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship golf event due to snow. That might not sound too surprising until you realise that the event was taking place in the desert of Arizona!
2015: Isthmian League Division One North
The weather didn’t stop the Isthmian League Division One North game between Romford and Thurrock, but it did cause one of the funniest goals of all time! Thurrock defender Kamarl Duncan tried to clear the ball from just inside his own half but the wind caught the ball and blew it up into the air and back in the direction of his own goal. It bounced over goalkeeper Rhys Madden and into Duncan’s own net!