Amidst the ever-growing fears of Coronavirus pandemic, the Indian Olympic Association on Thursday backed the International Olympic Committee’s assertion that the upcoming Tokyo Olympics will weather the storm and will be held on time without a glitch. Also Read - Football: UEFA Denies August 3 Deadline For Champions League Conclusion
The IOC and the Tokyo Games organisers are adamant that the Games will start on July 24 as scheduled despite the coronavirus pandemic crippling health care systems and destroying economies across the world. “The coronavirus is creating havoc throughout the world but we are hopeful it will be contained in one or two months. It has already been controlled in China, the epicenter of the disease, and we are expecting the Olympics to be held without any hindrance on its scheduled time,” a senior IOA office-bearer was quoted by PTI. Also Read - Shahid Afridi, Jahangir Khan Come Forward to Help Minorities in Fighting Coronavirus Pandemic
“But having said that IOC is our parent body, we will have to abide by what the IOC decides. If the IOC says the Olympics will go on we will have to participate irrespective of any threat,” he said. Also Read - Pakistan: Coronavirus Cases Cross 3,000-Mark, Govt Taking Measures to Curtail Its Spread
The IOC’s stance has angered many athletes, who have accused it of putting them at risk. Some officials have also expressed their apprehension.
Responding to the criticism, the world body on Wednesday conceded that there are no easy solutions for the current situation.
The pandemic, which has caused more than 8,000 deaths since being discovered in China, has wreaked havoc on Olympic preparations of athletes, including those from India. Several qualifiers have been suspended and training trips abroad are off the table thanks to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
The IOA admitted that the country’s preparations have been hit hard but should the Games happen, it is nonetheless expecting an unprecedented double-digit medal haul from the athletes.
“Yes, it is true our preparations have been hit with many Olympic qualifiers, Test events and preparatory camps abroad being postponed or cancelled because of the coronavirus,” the official said.
“But it is not just India, every country is facing the same situation so, the impact is same for every competing nation. So, our expectations still remain the same — 10 or more medals in Tokyo,” he asserted.
He said the IOA is closely monitoring the situation with all the stakeholders in the country. “We are monitoring all our athletes’ preparations as well as their well-being. We are also closely working with the Government of India, Tokyo Games organisers as well as IOC in this tough time,” he said.
The number of people infected with the highly contagious novel coronavirus has risen to 169 in India with four deaths reported in the country so far.
The total number of cases reported worldwide so far stands at more than 218,800.