The International Olympics Committee (IOC) has refuted claims that it plans to endanger world athletes, who are expected to participate in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games, through its refusal to cancel the sporting event despite other major sports tournaments being cancelled due to coronavirus threat.
It explained that all such claims were untrue and that so far, the body had been unable to find an ideal solution to the unique contraint posed by the deadly global pandemic, covid-19.
The IOC reiterated that the global event would still begin on July 24, as earlier scheduled, and that the committee was doing its best to mitigate all possible occurences ahead of the tournament flag-off.
Speaking to newsmen concerning the allegations on Wednesday, the Olympic organising body assured participants of the body’s commitment to ensuring health and safety of all athletes and all participants in the games, and that talks were ongoing with aim to find conclusiove solutions to the issues which had been raised.
It added that athletes were expected to continue training and preparation ahead of the games, and that all measures to ensure their safety would be put in place ahead of the opening July 24 date.
“This is an exceptional situation which requires exceptional solutions. The IOC is committed to finding a solution with the least negative impact for the athletes, while protecting the integrity of the competition and the athletes’ health. No solution will be ideal in this situation, and this is why we are counting on the responsibility and solidarity of the athletes”.
The body urged participating teams and athletes to support its drive and get prepared for the event, while pledging to deliver ‘complete’ games and a full event to the world.
In their response, several athletes explained that due to coronavirus realities which had necessitated self isolation methods, self quarantine methods, as well as nationwide restrictions of movement, regular training had become almost impossible without possible threat to health by the novel infection.
The Guild gathered that world heptathlon champion, Johnson-Thompson, has had to return to the UK from her training base in France as a result of the country being on lockdown, and described the statements of the IOC as confusing, saying that, “The Olympics is only four months away but government legislation is enforcing isolation at home, with tracks, gyms and public spaces closed. I feel under pressure to train and keep the same routine, which is impossible.”
According to another athlete, Greek Pole-Vault champion, Katerina Stefanidi, “This is not about how things will be in four months. This is about how things are now. The IOC wants us to keep risking our health, our family’s health and public health to train every day? You are putting us in danger right now, today, not in four months.”