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Defiant Olympic Chiefs Face Increased Pressure To Postpone Tokyo 2020

The Olympic Rings are pictured in entrance of the headquarters of the Worldwide Olympic Committee (IOC) in Lausanne on March 21, 2020. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP


Stress mounted on Olympic organisers to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Video games on Saturday after the highly effective US monitor and area federation urged this summer time’s occasion be pushed again as a result of coronavirus pandemic.

The IOC had refusal to cancel the Olympics, saying that the Video games had been additional away than different shelved occasions.

USA Monitor and Area turned the newest influential sports activities physique to ask for the Video games to be referred to as off after its head Max Siegel “respectfully requested” in a letter that the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) “advocate … for the postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo”.

USOPC had stated it was too quickly to axe the July 24-August 9 Video games, very similar to Worldwide Olympic Committee (IOC) head Thomas Bach, who stated that it might be “premature” to make such a giant determination.

“The right and responsible thing to do is to prioritise everyone’s health and safety and appropriately recognise the toll this difficult situation has and continues to take on our athletes and their Olympic Games preparations,” wrote Siegel.

USATF joined a rising refrain of calls from sports activities organisations to push again the Olympics, a day after the nation’s swimming federation requested USOPC to again a postponement till 2021.

“We urge the USOPC, as a leader within the Olympic Movement, to use its voice and speak up for the athletes,” USA Swimming CEO Tim Hinchey stated in a letter.

That request for a delay was echoed on Saturday by France’s swimming federation which stated that the Video games couldn’t be organised correctly within the “current context”.

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe advised AFP on Saturday that the sporting world was in “uncharted territory”.

“We have another meeting early next week to discuss the work, given the number of athletes who are struggling to train in various countries due to measures put in place to reduce the spread of the coronavirus,” stated Coe.

“I don’t suppose we should always have the Olympic Video games in any respect prices, actually not at the price of athlete security and a call on the Olympic Video games might turn out to be very apparent in a short time within the coming days and weeks.

“The problem of competitors equity is paramount. We’re all managing the scenario day-to-day and more and more hour by hour.”

The Norwegian Olympic Committee (NOC) shortly adopted, saying that it had despatched a letter to the IOC on Friday, motivated partially by a Norwegian authorities ban on organised sports activities actions which had created “a very challenging time for the sports movement in Norway”.

“Our clear recommendation is that the Olympic Games in Tokyo shall not take place before the COVID-19 situation is under firm control on a global scale,” the NOC stated within the letter.

IOC ‘putting us in danger’

The brand new chairman of the UK’s athletics governing physique additionally questioned the necessity to maintain the Olympics this summer time given the uncertainty surrounding the unfold of COVID-19, which has now killed over 12,000 folks worldwide in accordance with an AFP tally.

“To leave it where it is creating so much pressure in the system. It now has to be addressed,” head of UK Athletics Nic Coward advised the BBC.

On Friday, Bach defended the IOC’s refusal to cancel the Olympics by saying that the Video games had been additional away than different shelved occasions, similar to soccer’s European Championship which was attributable to begin in mid-June and has been moved to 2021.

“We are four-and-a-half months away from the Games,” Bach advised the New York Occasions.

“For us, (postponement) would not be responsible now.”

Athletes lashed out at IOC recommendation to proceed coaching “as best they can”, with Olympic pole vault champion Katerina Stefanidi accusing the physique of “putting us in danger”.

“The IOC wants us to keep risking our health, our family’s health and public health to train every day?” requested Stefanidi.

World champion fencer Race Imboden of the US stated on Twitter that he was “worried” in regards to the prospect of the Olympics going forward.

“We keep being told the Olympic Games are happening. Starting to realise it’s more important to have the games go on than the athletes be prepared or mentally healthy.”

However USOPC chairwoman Susanne Lyons insisted on Friday that organisers had time on their facet.

“We don’t have to make a decision. Our games are not next week, or two weeks from now. They’re four months from now,” Lyons stated.


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