Abhinav Bindra has backed the call for deferring Tokyo Olympics by a year saying safeguarding the health of athletes is the priority in wake of coronavirus pandemic. Also Read - Delhi: Containment Zones Rise From 8,661 to 9929 Within 2 Days | Check Full List of Hotspots Here
The Olympics were slated to be held from July 24-August 9 later this year in Tokyo but Japan PM Shinzo Abe on Tuesday announced that they will now be held “no later than Summer 2021”. Also Read - Delhi Enters Weekend Lockdown, UP To Impose Curfew On Sunday As India's Fight Against COVID Continues
Bindra, who is part of International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) athletes’ commission said the decision was inevitable. “It has not been easy to take this call as the decision has been made after taking all the stakeholders on board,” Bindra told The Times of India. “We (the Athletes’ Commission) have had a series of meetings with the IOC members in the past few weeks and I feel postponement of the Games was inevitable.” Also Read - Lord Jagannath Temple in Puri to Remain Closed on Weekends
Bindra, who continues to be India’s lone individual Olympic gold medallist, said that while the decision to push Summer Games was difficult, had they gone ahead as planned, it would have been a dangerous situation for athletes.
“So many things move together with an event like the Olympics,” he said. “It can never be easy to push the event of this magnitude to a year. But safeguarding the health of the athletes is the priority. The IOC’s prime focus is the health and well-being of the athletes. With the Games being held in July this year, a lot of athletes were risking their lives by training during such times. I feel this is the best way to deal with a situation like this.”
He added, “During any crisis there are all types of sad news floating, but there is nothing worse than ‘no news’. The suspense is over and everybody associated with the Games can now focus on the new dates, whenever they are announced.”
The Olympics will still be known as Tokyo 2020 even though the event will now take place in 2021.