The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all major sporting events around the world. Among which, the Tokyo Olympics was the biggest upset. However, on Monday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that the opening ceremony will now take place on July 23, 2021 — almost one year after the games were originally scheduled to start.
- An injured Dipa Karmakar is looking to qualify for Tokyo Games. "I will give my best to return to form," says the gymnast.
- Boxer, Mary Kom, who has recently donated one month's salary to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, says, "Now I get more time to prepare.”
- "I would say it's good as everyone can chill now and not worry about preparations," says Saina Nehwal.
After postponement things may have been looking up for injured gymnast Dipa Karmakar. She is recovering from a niggling knee problem. The same injury hampered her earlier bid to make the cut. "There were eight World cups but now there are only two left, which were supposed to happen in March but got postponed to June due to coronavirus outbreak," said Karmakar, who finished fourth at the 2016 Rio Olympics, told PTI in an interview.
"Given the situation they perhaps will happen next year. So it gives me more time to recover and prepare for the two events," she added noting that her struggle to recover from the injuries is still in motion.
"I will give my best to return to form and hopefully I can do well and qualify. But having said that, what is important right now is that we defeat this coronavirus, that is the priority," said the 26-year-old, the first Indian female gymnast to compete in the Olympics.
Champion boxer Mary Kom has recently donated one month's salary as Rajya Sabha MP to the Prime Minister's Relief Fund. She has contributed Rs 1 lakh to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. "In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, I wish to donate my one month's salary to the PM National Relief Fund. So, please debit an amount of Rs 1,00,000 from my account," Mary Kom said in a letter to the bank.
"Now I get more time to prepare, our training plans can be extended. And it's not just for me, it is true for everyone around the world," added Mary Kom, a bronze-medallist at London 2012 who was gearing up for her second Olympic appearance, told PTI.
Commenting on the Tokyo Games' postponement, she said, "The situation right now is not good. Life always comes first, everything else can wait. Players' safety is paramount. Everyone who took this decision factored this in. I think it's good for everyone."
“Olympics is the main thing in my life right now. It is my last mission,” Mary Kom stated.
Saina Nehwal, a bronze-winner at the 2012 Games, was aiming to qualify for Tokyo said, "Happy that it's postponed even though some of us haven't qualified. We are eager to know what the qualification (process) would be like going ahead.”
"As an athlete who's played Olympics before I would say it's good as everyone can chill now and not worry about preparations amid a lockdown. We all have to be safe first and then we can think about preparations," she added.
Vinesh Phogat said, “In that sense, the decision is understandable and a fair one too. I have been able to train because there is a facility in my house. But there are so many who aren’t able to do it, athletes from India as well as other countries.”
Vinesh has already qualified for the Games after a podium finish at last year’s World Wrestling Championships. She added, “And think of those who have not qualified yet! They must be under so much stress. So, it is good that they will get enough time to start training again and then aim for the Olympics.”
Picture credit: NDTV