IOC com­mit­ted to Tokyo Olympics in 2020

Pretoria News - - CLASSIFIED­S - |

THE In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee does not plan any “dras­tic” de­ci­sions about the Tokyo 2020 Games, say­ing yes­ter­day it re­mains fully com­mit­ted to the event be­ing staged in four months’ time de­spite the global spread of the coro­n­avirus.

Fol­low­ing dis­cus­sions with in­ter­na­tional sports fed­er­a­tions the IOC said changes would need to be made to the qual­i­fiers due to the im­pact of the virus, but it still plans to go ahead with the July 24-Au­gust 9 Olympics.

“The IOC re­mains fully com­mit­ted to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and with more than four months to go be­fore the Games there is no need for any dras­tic de­ci­sions at this stage,” it said in a state­ment.

“Any spec­u­la­tion at this mo­ment would be counter-pro­duc­tive,” it said, less than an hour after Euro­pean soccer body Uefa post­poned its 2020 Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship to 2021.

“The IOC en­cour­ages all ath­letes to con­tinue to pre­pare for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 as best they can,”

Ear­lier yes­ter­day, Ja­panese prime min­is­ter Shinzo Abe said Group of Seven lead­ers had agreed to sup­port a “com­plete” Olympics, but he dodged ques­tions about whether any of the lead­ers had brought up the pos­si­bil­ity of post­pone­ment.

The virus also forced the post­pone­ment of South Amer­ica’s Copa Amer­ica soccer tour­na­ment - one of the big­gest draws on the foot­ball cal­en­dar - and spec­u­la­tion about whether the Olympics can be held has grown by the day.

So far the coro­n­avirus has in­fected al­most 190 000 peo­ple and killed more than 7 500 world­wide, with the epi­cen­tre now be­ing Europe.

Sports com­pe­ti­tions have come to a halt in many parts of the world, wreak­ing havoc with Olympic qual­i­fier events across 33 sports. The IOC on Mon­day scrapped any re­main­ing box­ing qual­i­fiers due to the virus.

“The health and well-be­ing of all those in­volved in the prepa­ra­tions for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is our num­ber-one con­cern,” IOC Pres­i­dent Thomas Bach said.

“All mea­sures are be­ing taken to safe­guard the safety and in­ter­ests of ath­letes, coaches and sup­port teams. We are an Olympic com­mu­nity; we sup­port one another in good times and in dif­fi­cult times.”

The IOC will hold fur­ther talks with Na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tees and ath­letes’ rep­re­sen­ta­tives in the com­ing days.

The de­ci­sion to pro­ceed with the Games was not, how­ever, wel­comed by all ath­letes.

“This is not about how things will be in four months,” 2016 Olympic pole vault cham­pion Ka­te­rina Ste­fanidi said in a so­cial me­dia post.

“This is about how things are now. The IOC wants us to keep risk­ing our health, our fam­ily’s health and pub­lic health to train ev­ery day? You are putting us in dan­ger right now, to­day, not in four months.”

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