Coronavirus: Tokyo 2020 Olympic organisers respond to frustrated athletes

  • Coronavirus: Tokyo 2020 Olympic organisers respond to frustrated athletes

Coronavirus: Tokyo 2020 Olympic organisers respond to frustrated athletes

The Tokyo Games organizing committee also said Tuesday it had chose to drop a plan to send a delegation to the Olympic flame handover ceremony in Greece as a safety measure in response to the pandemic, while the Olympic torch relay in Japan will be scaled down.

It was a sentiment shared by Spain's Olympic Committee president Alejandro Blanco, who said in a statement on Tuesday that he would prefer the Games to be postponed in order to give athletes the opportunity to prepare fully.

The IOC held its first consultation with International Olympic Summer Sports Federations yesterday then held a tele-conferences with most of the NOCs, also yesterday, the IOC is expected to host a tele-conference with the athletes' representatives today and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and other International Federations (IFs) and other stakeholders in the coming days.

"No solution will be ideal in this situation, and this is why we are counting on the responsibility and solidarity of the athletes".

Irish former Olympian Sonia O'Sullivan had told RTÉ Radio One's Morning Ireland on Tuesday that, in her view, the best solution was to postpone the Games until 2021.

World heptathlon champion Johnson-Thompson said the IOC's advice to "continue to prepare for the Olympics' was 'at odds" with government warnings to minimise social contact.

Hayley Wickenheiser, an International Olympic Committee member, said the organisation's conviction that the Games would go ahead was "insensitive and irresponsible given the state of humanity".

"This crisis is bigger than even the Olympics", Wickenheiser wrote.

"The news that we get every day is uncomfortable for all countries in the world, but for us the most important thing is that our sportspeople can not train and to celebrate the Games as planned would result in unequal conditions", he said. "But it (the IOC) is putting us at risk", Stefanidi said in an exclusive interview to Reuters.

Johnson-Thompson has returned to Britain from her training base in France, with the country having gone into lockdown as part of measures aimed at combating the spread of coronavirus.

Stefanidi added she "would like to see that there is a concern for the risk to our health" and is anxious that it may be risky for athletes to train at present.

Greece's Katerina Stefanidi competes in the women's pole vault during the IAAF Diamond League Anniversary Games athletics meeting at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park stadium in Stratford, east London on July 9, 2017.

'It's hard [to] approach the season when everything has changed in the lead-up apart from the ultimate deadline, ' she added. "I feel under pressure to train and keep the same routine which is impossible".

"I think the IOC insisting this will move ahead, with such conviction, is insensitive and irresponsible given the state of humanity", said Hayley Wickenheiser, a four-time Olympic hockey gold medalist from Canada.

With 57 per cent of the total allotment of the 10,500 athletes for the Tokyo Games already qualified. "The health and well-being of all those involved in the preparations for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is our number-one concern".

He also held a call with U.S. President Donald Trump, where the idea of postponing or cancelling the Games was not introduced during their discussion.