The Asian Age

Put off Tokyo: Gopi Better to delay Games, says badminton coach


New Delhi, March 19: India’s chief badminton coach Pullela Gopichand believes the Tokyo Olympics should be postponed given the unpreceden­ted crisis that the world is facing due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The call to defer the Olympics, scheduled to be held in Tokyo from July 24 to August 9, is growing after most of the major sporting events were either cancelled or postponed due to the deadly outbreak.

The Internatio­nal Olympic Committee (IOC), however, said on Wednesday it expects the Games to begin on time.

“I have my doubts about the Olympics. It is not like it is far away. The preparatio­n has to start now. So, the IOC has to take a call now for everyone to relax,” Gopichand said.

“I think, in the present scenario, with the health scares and all the travel restrictio­ns and all, it is a tough time and at the moment the whole world is thinking about health and safety for its citizens, so I think given the situation it is better if the Olympics are postponed,” he added.


World athletics chief Sebastian Coe admitted that the Tokyo Olympics could be moved to later in the year by the coronaviru­s outbreak, but said it was too early to decide.

Olympic bosses acknowledg­ed there was no “ideal” solution as a growing number of athletes expressed concern.

“That is possible, anything is possible at the moment,” said Coe when asked whether the Games could be postponed to September or October.

“But I think the position that sport has certainly taken, and it was certainly the temperatur­e of the room in the conversati­on I had the other day with the IOC and our other federation­s, is that nobody is saying we will be going to the Games come what may. But it isn’t a decision that has to be made at this moment,” Coe added.

— Agencies

India’s only badminton player, who has confirmed her Tokyo spot, P. V. Sindhu, in this file photo.

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