The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Thursday announced that the upcoming Tokyo Olympics will be held as per schedule. Adding that the Tokyo Games organisers (Japan) are insistent on going forward with the given dates. The Indian Olympic Association has indicated that if the games will go on, India will have to participate irrespective of any threat.
- Japan is insistent on going forward with the existing Tokyo games as per schedule.
- India will have to participate irrespective of any threat: IOA officer
- The Olympic flame is on its way to being handed by Greece to Japan.
The Tokyo edition is scheduled to take off from July 24. ”The coronavirus is creating havoc throughout the world but we are hopeful it will be contained in one or two months. It has already been controlled in China, the epicenter of the disease; and we are expecting the Olympics to be held without any hindrance on its scheduled time,” a senior Indian Olympic Association (IOA) officer said.
“But having said that, IOC is our parent body, (so) we will have to abide by what the IOC decides. If the IOC says the Olympics will go on, we will have to participate irrespective of any threat,” he added.
Many athletes, including reigning Olympic pole vault champion Katerina Stefanidi, are in rage right now who have accused the IOC of putting their health at risk. “Everybody realised that we have still more than four months to go and we will address this action, and we will keep acting in a responsible way in the interest of the athletes,” (IOC) president Thomas Bach said to 220 athletes representatives on Wednesday.
Country is in dilemma
Talking about the country’s preparations the IOA admitted,”Yes, it is true our preparations have been hit with many Olympic qualifiers, Test events and preparatory camps abroad being postponed or cancelled because of the coronavirus.”
“But it is not just India, every country is facing the same situation so, the impact is same for every competing nation. So our expectations still remain the same — 10 or more medals in Tokyo,” the official asserted.
He also claimed the IOA is closely monitoring the situation. “We are monitoring all our athletes’ preparations as well as their well-being. We are also closely working with the Government of India, Tokyo Games organizers as well as the IOC in this tough time.”
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Pullela Gopichand disagrees
Badminton coach Pullela Gopichand is in favour of postponing the Olympics. He said, “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 told PTI.
“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.
“The players also need some rest, so it is better to stay home and work on fitness.”
Tokyo is ready to host about 11,000 athletes and 57% have earned their spots at the Games.
The number of people infected with coronavirus has gone past 206 in India.
Picture Credit: Axios