‘Premature’ to postpone Tokyo Olympics, says IOC chief

(FILES) In this file photograph taken on March 3, 2020 International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach delivers an announcement on the COVID-19 scenario throughout a gathering of the chief board on the IOC headquarters in Lausanne. – Bach mentioned on March 20, 2020 the organisation was “considering different scenarios” for the Tokyo Games, however was optimistic about holding the occasion as scheduled regardless of the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach mentioned it could be “premature” to postpone the Tokyo Games Thursday however admitted the physique was “considering different scenarios” because the coronavirus pandemic advances.

The IOC will act on recommendation from its personal taskforce and the World Health Organization, Bach advised the New York Times, after every week when the IOC has weathered criticism over its response to the disaster.

But he remained optimistic about holding the Tokyo Olympics on schedule from July 24 to August 9, and mentioned there was no query of cancelling the Games altogether.

“Of course we are considering different scenarios, but we are contrary to many other sports organizations or professional leagues in that we are four-and-a-half months away from the Games,” Bach mentioned.

“For us, (postponement) would not be responsible now and it would be premature to start speculation or make a decision at a time when we do not have any recommendation from the task force,” he added.

Speculation has been rising over the Games, scheduled to begin on July 24, after the COVID-19 outbreak closed sports activities competitions all over the world, and paralysed many nations together with worldwide journey.

Olympic qualifiers are among the many tournaments affected, with 43 p.c of athletes but to ebook their spots. But Bach mentioned the scenario was nonetheless too unsure to decide about Tokyo.

“What makes this crisis so unique and so difficult to overcome is the uncertainty. Nobody today can tell you what the developments are tomorrow, what they are in one month, not to mention in more than four months,” he mentioned.

“Therefore it would not be responsible in any way to set a date or make a decision right now, which would be based on the speculation about future developments.”

Athletes lashed out at IOC recommendation this week to proceed coaching “as best they can”, with Olympic pole vault champion Katerina Stefanidi accusing the physique of “putting us in danger”.

But Bach mentioned well being issues have been “first and foremost”, including “the decision of the IOC will not be determined by any financial interest”.

“For us, while not knowing how long this tunnel will be, we would like the Olympic flame to be a light at the end of the tunnel,” he mentioned.

Despite remaining hopeful of beginning the Games on time, Bach mentioned the IOC’s risk-management insurance policies and insurance coverage “will make it possible for us to continue our operations and organize future Olympic Games”.

“The IOC has no cash-flow problem,” he added when requested in regards to the potential downside of broadcast funds not arriving in July.

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