Athletes in talks over Tokyo Olympics amid coronavirus pandemic

Athletes, including decathlon world champion Niklas Kaul, question ‘fairness’ of decision to press on with Olympics.

Athletes, including German Kaul, fear there will not be a level playing field at the Japan Olympics [File: Serhat Cagdas/Anadolu]
Athletes, including German Kaul, fear there will not be a level playing field at the Japan Olympics [File: Serhat Cagdas/Anadolu]

Decathlon world champion Niklas Kaul has joined the sceptics as athletes were reportedly continuing to brainstorm amid the coronavirus pandemic with just four months left until the Tokyo Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has come under heavy fire for pressing on with preparations for the July 24 to August 9 Games as the number of infections around the world passed 200,000 and the death toll 8,000.

The insidethegames portal said the IOC athletes’ commission would hold a conference call with the global network of athletes’ commission on Thursday after the IOC spoke with athletes the previous day.

The IOC admitted that “a solution with the least negative impact for the athletes” was being sought as training facilities are closed in many areas and qualifying events scrapped.

‘Fairness’

Apart from concerns around the general health situation, athletes – including Kaul – fear there will not be a level playing field in Japan because some can train in their countries while others cannot.

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“For me, it would be difficult. Simply from the idea of fairness,” Kaul told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, adding that sport takes a back seat these days.

On Wednesday, former British rowing great Matthew Pinsent called Bach’s arguments “tone deaf” to ask athletes to continue training amid government lockdowns in several countries, and bluntly added in reference to the Tokyo Games: “Call it off.”

Formula One teams were, meanwhile, set to discuss postponing sweeping rule changes in the sport by one year until 2022 on Thursday, after their regular summer shutdown was brought forward to March and April as the first four season races have been postponed.

In England, football’s Premier League was expected to nod through extending the currently interrupted football season until June, after the postponement of Euro 2020.

Tennis authorities meanwhile have announced that the entire spring clay court season was scrapped, with no play until June 7 on the men’s and women’s tour, at the earliest.

Source : Al Jazeera, DPA

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