Olympics postponement may be ‘inevitable’ due to Covid-19

PHOTO: olympics.org

Today Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe, says “postponing the Olympics over the coronavirus pandemic may become inevitable”, after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said a delay was being considered as pressure grows from athletes and sports bodies.

Meanwhile Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic committees announced they will not send teams to the Games if they are held this summer, prioritising the health of their athletes and the general public, calling on the IOC and International Paralympic Committee to postpone the Games as a part of our collective responsibility to protect our communities.

And Australian cheif de mission, Ian Chesterman, says…

“The Australia’s Olympic committee told athletes to prepare for a Tokyo Olympics in the northern-hemisphere summer of 2021. It’s clear the Games can’t be held in July,”

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Comments from the Japanese PM were the first acknowledgement that the 2020 games may not open as scheduled on July 24, as the corona virus advances across the globe causing unprecedented chaos. The IOC is responsible for making any final decision on the Games, and has come under increasing pressure as the coronavirus crisis grows.

For weeks, Japan and Olympic officials have held the line that preparations are moving ahead to hold the Games as scheduled, but there has been increasing pressure from sports federations and athletes whose training has been thrown into confusion (turmoil). Abe told the parliament that Japan was still committed to hosting a “complete” Games.

“If that becomes difficult, in light of considering athletes first, it may become inevitable that we make a decision to postpone. However cancellation is not an option,” Abe said, using comments from IOC chief Thomas Bach, saying “it would not solve any problem and would help nobody”.

“Human lives take precedence over everything, including the staging of the Games,” Bach wrote in an open letter to athletes.

The IOC warned that the logistics of postponing the Games were extremely complicated, with venues potentially unavailable, millions of hotel nights already booked and a packed international sports calendar.

“These are just a few of many, many more challenges.”

The IOC has also shifted its position on the Games, issuing a statement yesterday saying it was stepping up planning for different scenarios, including postponement. It said it would hold detailed discussions on the worldwide health situation and its impact on the Olympic Games. A decision should come within the next four weeks.

The virus has already had an impact, with qualifiers cancelled and celebratory events scaled back. Despite the measures, tens of thousands of people flocked to a cauldron displaying the flame in northeastern Japan, raising fears about whether the relay can be held safely.

9 time Olympic track and field champion Carl Lewis, and also the head of French athletics, says…

“I just think it’s really difficult for an athlete to prepare, to train, to keep their motivation if there’s complete uncertainty. That’s the hardest thing, I think a more comfortable situation would be to wait two years and put it in the Olympic year with the Winter Olympics (Beijing 2022) and then make it kind of a celebratory Olympic year.”

The head of the French athletics federation Andre Giraud, also said the postponement was inevitable.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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My name is Anukul, I a writer for the Thaiger, I specialise in translation articles and social media, and assisting with our video production. I previously worked at Phuket Gazette and attended BIS international school in Phuket.

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