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Basketball Tournament During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Written by Jinseo (Nathan) Lee | Published. 2020.11.27 17:38 | Count : 298

Holding any sports competition during the COVID-19 pandemic would seem dangerous and reckless. However, various sports leagues around the world, such as the NBA, NFL, and even the Korean Baseball Organization, have remained active under the strict regulations. With the number of coronavirus patients decreasing and the government’s social distancing guidelines relaxed to Level 1, the KXO 3x3 basketball tournament was able to return on October 31, after being postponed for months due to the pandemic. The tournament was held at Hongcheon Sports Complex in Hongcheon, Gangwon-do. 

[Photo of the temperature check booth/court entrance taken before the tournament.
Photo credit: Nathan Lee]

The KXO 3x3 basketball tournament was a two-day outdoor tournament. On the first day, preliminary games for U-15, U-18, open, woman’s open, and KXO league took place, and on the second day elimination games were held. 3x3 basketball match is a new type of match where three players from each team play on a half-court instead of a full basketball court. Each team is made up of four players and has no coaches, which is very different from the original 5x5 basketball matches, where each team usually has 10 to 15 players and at least one coach. KXO has been holding 3x3 basketball tournaments in various places across the country, and its popularity among basketball players and fans is increasing.

Unlike other KXO 3x3 tournaments before the pandemic, where people were able to enter the tournament site from all directions, only a single entrance was available, and everyone had to undergo a quarantine process before entering. Players and staff members were required to undergo a temperature check, and after confirming that they didn’t have any COVID-19 symptoms, they had to write their phone numbers and temperatures on a travel log. After completing the whole process, players received a lanyard with a card showing that they were competing in the tournament and had already completed the safety process.

Even after entering the sports complex, players had to follow the rules to minimize the risk of infection. All players were required to wear a mask except for when they were playing in a game, and KXO staff members constantly reminded players to wear their masks when not playing. 

The fact that this tournament was an outdoor tournament also helped reduce the chances of COVID-19 transmission. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, indoor spaces are riskier than outdoor spaces as outdoor spaces have more ventilation and it’s easier to keep people apart. 

[KXO 3x3 Tournament Day 2 in an indoor facility. Photo credit: Nathan Lee]

However, on the second day, it suddenly started raining and the tournament was forced to move indoors. With a delay of only about an hour, the tournament venue was moved to the Hongcheon County Citizen Sports Center. Since the tournament was held indoors, KXO staff members were more strict about the rules. When the gymnasium started to get crowded, staff members asked players to stay outside of the gymnasium if possible. Just like the previous day, players were required to always have a mask on when they were not playing in a game.

Overall, the tournament was very successful as it was able to satisfy the basketball players’ desire to play basketball while also preventing the spread of coronavirus. The tournament came to a successful end thanks to the staff, who took extra care to make sure the players followed the rules and players cooperated with the rules for a safe and successful tournament. Even though we had to play under strict restrictions, I was very happy with the tournament since it had been a long time since I played a competitive basketball game as all tournaments had been canceled due to the pandemic. I was amazed by how almost everyone in the tournament followed the guidelines, making the tournament successful. Although I hope the pandemic ends soon so that we can go back to playing competitive basketball without any restrictions, I am confident that basketball tournaments held under such restrictions will be safe and fun enough to satisfy players.




Jinseo (Nathan) Lee
Grade 9
Chadwick International

Jinseo (Nathan) Lee  student_reporter@dherald.com

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