Tokyo 2020 Games postponed
Updated: Mar 30, 2020
The International Olympic Committee has held talks with athlete representatives world over pertaining to their concerns over the body’s decision not to postpone the Olympics games to be held in Tokyo in July this year. The call for their postponement is due to the coronavirus crisis.
IOC President Thomas Bach said he was “confronted with many questions” over qualification and restrictions, but that “everybody realised that we still have more than four months to go” until Tokyo 2020.
There has been mounting criticism from athletes, with the IOC accused of putting them “in danger” by insisting it remains fully committed to the Games.
Olympic champion Katerina Stefanidi said the IOC was risking the athletes’ health”, while Britain’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson said training had become impossible.
Speaking in an in-house IOC interview, Bach said: “We have just had a really great call with 220 athlete representatives from all around the world, it was very constructive and gave us a lot of insight.
“We aimed to continue being very realistic in our analysis. We will keep acting in a responsible way that is in the interest of the athletes whilst always respecting our two principles - the safeguarding and health of the athletes and contributing to the containment of the virus, and secondly to protect the interest of the athletes and Olympic sport.”
Earlier, in a statement, the IOC had warned “no solution will be ideal” in preparing for Tokyo
Johnson-Thompson shared this image with the caption “10 minutes left on these streets before France goes into complete lockdown”
World heptathlon champion Johnson-Thompson, 27, is returning to the UK from her training base in France as a result of the country being in lockdown.
Tokyo 2020 organisers have pledged to deliver a “complete” Games but Johnson-Thompson said current guidance from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is confusing.
She said: “The IOC advice ‘encourages athletes to continue to prepare for the Olympic Games as best as they can’ with the Olympics only four months away but the government legislation is enforcing isolation at home, with tracks, gyms and public spaces closed.
“I feel under pressure to train and keep the same routine, which is impossible.
All club training sessions, events, competitions, club committee and face-to-face meetings, athlete camps, running groups and social events have been suspended across England, Scotland and Wales.
British race walker Tom Bosworth said BBC Sport: “I don’t think there is enough time to properly build towards a games, whether that is build athlete profiles, build the teams, allow people to qualify who haven’t qualified and celebrate an Olympic Games in an Olympic year as it should be. “I think for all involved, a slight delay is probably the best option.”
Stefanidi, who won gold for Greece in pole vault at Rio 2016, said: “This is not about how things will be in four months. This is about how things are now.
“The IOC wants us to keep risking our health, our family’s health and public health to train every day? Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has insisted the Games will go ahead as planned in July. Events including the handover of the Olympic torch in Athens have faced disruption.