Nic Coward, Chairman of UK athletics has suggested that Tokyo Olympics 2020 be postponed to save athletes from the “stress” of training in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. With four months left for the global quadrennial event, the International Olympic Committee (IOA) and Tokyo 2020 organisers felt the need to give the Olympics a go-ahead even as the world struggles to grapple with the Coronavirus which has affected all walks of life. Also Read - Olympics May be Cancelled if The Covid Situation Worsens : Japanese Official
But Coward, who is a UK sports administrator of the highest order played down the idea, saying the Olympics cannot go ahead with the current state prevailing, especially in Britain, where more than 10,500 have been reported positive of the COVID-19 of which 184 have died. Also Read - Tokyo Marks 100 Days to go Until Olympics Amid Covid Spike
“Look, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that these very personal (athlete) experiences take time to come through to the IOC level,” Coward told The Telegraph. “I can understand that. But as governments take action to protect their people – which includes closing down facilities on which athletes and para-athletes rely – and as that message is coming through more clearly now… I mean, we’re only a week in in this country.” Also Read - Dutee Chand Gears up for World Relays as Indian Team sets Sight on Tokyo
In the wee hours of Friday, UK Prime Minister imposed a lockdown in the country to help contain the spread of the virus. He reckons it would take approximately 12 weeks to emerge out of this situation, but Coward feels the time frame will make it impossible for athletes to prepare for the Olympics, which starts July 24.
“I would never be so grand as to demand x, y or z. All I would say from a UK perspective, knowing what we know now, even since the Prime Minister’s announcement on Tuesday evening (about avoiding mass gatherings and social contact), we thought the facilities would be able to remain open,” he said.
“Now they can’t. They are closing. And that is creating stress. From my perspective, right now, I think that will have to lead to the conclusion that the Games must be (postponed); that the decision has to be made that the Olympic and Paralympic Games can’t take place as currently scheduled.”