Prime News, International Sport and Games, Olympics, London, March 20:- British Olympic Association chiefs insist they will not “endanger the health” of athletes by encouraging them to prepare for Tokyo 2020 if the coronavirus makes it unsafe.
The International Olympic Committee remains committed to the Olympics going ahead in Japan on schedule on July 24. But many athletes have raised concerns that current social distancing restrictions imposed due to the pandemic are making it impossible to prepare properly.
Guy Learmonth, hoping to be picked in the 800m, this week became the first British athlete to warn that the risks of going to Tokyo are too high in the circumstances.
Athletes’ frustration was not reserved for the British, with Olympic pole vault champion Katerina Stefanidi also blasting the IOC.
With Euro 2020 and the Copa America postponed because of the virus, there have been calls to cancel the Olympics or push it back, given the widespread chaos in the global sporting schedule at present.
The BOA support the IOC’s decision-making process but said: “We can be categorically clear that we will not endanger the health and well-being of the athletes or wider delegation at any point. It is imperative to preserve competitive integrity for athletes, but it is clearly only wise for athletes to continue to prepare for the Games where it is safe and appropriate to do so, within relevant government and public health guidelines.”
Officials from the BOA and British sports federations returned from Tokyo this week following a series of venue and athletes’ village visits, and reported that preparations appeared to be on track. (Inputs: Agencies, NGB)