Coronavirus: International Olympic Committee under increasing pressure to postpone Tokyo 2020

Vast majority of sporting events around the globe have already been postponed or cancelled

Sunday 22 March 2020 11:54 GMT
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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) continues to come under pressure to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Games due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sporting events around the globe have all taken action as life is put on hold for athletes and fans alike.

On Saturday, US Track and Field sent an email calling for the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee to make representations about delaying the Games in Japan – set to start on July 24 – as the “right and responsible thing to do” in the circumstances.

An increasing number of athletes have been speaking out over their fears for Tokyo 2020, particularly in relation to social distancing which make their training programmes impossible to pursue.

USA Swimming, meanwhile, had already asking the USOPC to push for a one-year postponement as the impact of the lockdown began to hit home.

USATF chief executive Max Siegel wrote: “The right and responsible thing to do is 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.

“We are all experiencing unfathomable disruptions, and everyone’s lives are being impacted accordingly.

“For those reasons, USATF is respectfully requesting that the (USOPC) advocate to the IOC for the postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.”

The Spanish Football Federation also called for this summer’s Olympics to be postponed.

President of the RFEF Luis Rubiales made the request to IOC committee member Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr at a meeting with other Spanish sports federations, the governing body said in a statement.

The Tokyo Olympics is under pressure to be cancelled
The Tokyo Olympics is under pressure to be cancelled (AFP)

The meeting had been called by president of the Spanish Olympic Committee, Alejandro Blanco.

Rubiales said in a statement: “At this time, health must prevail over any other issue and we must be on the side of our Government.

“Sport is our reason for being, but now it must be in the background. We continue to work for football and solutions for this sector, however, now the duty as Spaniards is to stay united and to suspend all sports events.”

PA

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