Facing backlash from athletes for putting lives in danger, the Tokyo Olympics 2020 organisers are going through a hard time as there is no ‘ideal’ solution to stage the world’s biggest sporting extravaganza. Olympic chiefs acknowledged on Wednesday about the issue as athletes get worried over the deadly coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe. Also Read - First Frontline Casualty: Indore Doctor Passes Away After Battling With Coronavirus
“This is an exceptional situation which requires exceptional solutions,” an International Olympic Committee (IOC) spokesperson said after criticism from top athletes that they were being forced to take health risks should the July 24-August 9 Games go ahead as scheduled during the COVID-19 outbreak. Also Read - Odisha 1st State to Extend Lockdown. Will Other States Follow Suit?
“The IOC is committed to finding a solution with the least negative impact for the athletes, while protecting the integrity of the competition and the athletes’ health,” an IOC member was quoted by AFP. Also Read - COVID-19+ Cases in Maharashtra Rise to 1,297, Death Toll Stands at 72
“No solution will be ideal in this situation, and this is why we are counting on the responsibility and solidarity of the athletes.”
Olympic pole vault champion Katerina Stefanidi and British heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson had earlier raised her concerns after the IOC said it was ‘fully committed’ to hosting the Summer Games from July 24.
Stefanidi, one of Greece’s most decorated athletes, was scheduled to hand the ceremonial flame to Japanese officials before the Greek leg of the torch relay was scrapped over COVID-19.
“The IOC wants us to keep risking our health, our family’s health and public health to train every day?” she tweeted.
“You are putting us in danger right now, today, not in 4 months.”
Meanwhile, Thompson said training had become ‘impossible’. “This is an exceptional situation which requires exceptional solutions. The IOC is committed to finding a solution with the least negative impact for the athletes, while protecting the integrity of the competition and the athletes’ health.
“No solution will be ideal in this situation, and this is why we are counting on the responsibility and solidarity of the athletes,” the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has responded.
Meanwhile, World heptathlon champion Thompson has been forced to return to the UK from her training base in France where the country is on lockdown. She said: “The IOC advice ‘encourages athletes to continue to prepare for the Olympics 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.
“I’m in a very fortunate place given the circumstances. I’m healthy, well supported and I have already qualified for the Olympics. But at this moment it’s difficult to approach the season when everything has changed in the lead up apart from the ultimate deadline.”
The IOC has claimed there is no need for ‘any drastic decisions at this stage’ regarding this year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games, despite growing concern over the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The IOC made the statement after its executive board held a teleconference with international federations on how to deal with the emergency.
(With Agency Inputs)