Coronavirus: Olympic doubts develop as Canada withdraws athletes

Canada's flag bearer Rosannagh Maclennan leads her national delegation during the opening ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 5, 2016Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Canada’s flag bearer Rosannagh Maclennan throughout the opening ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

The 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo have been thrown into additional doubt after Canada turned the primary main nation to withdraw.

Their announcement got here shortly after the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, admitted for the primary time that the video games may very well be postponed.

Meanwhile, the Australian crew has mentioned it was “clear” the video games couldn’t go forward, and advised its athletes to arrange for a 2021 video games.

The video games are because of start on 24 July.

What did Canada say?

The nation’s Olympic and Paralympic committee mentioned it had taken “the difficult decision” to withdraw after consulting athletes, sports activities teams, and the Canadian authorities.

It then “urgently called” on the International Olympic Committee, International Paralympic Committee, and World Health Organization, to postpone the video games for a 12 months.

“While we recognise the inherent complexities around a postponement, nothing is more important than the health and safety of our athletes and the world community,” their statement said.

The Canadian later posted a message on Twitter saying: “Postpone today. Conquer tomorrow.”

What did Shinzo Abe say?

For weeks, Japanese officers have mentioned the video games will go forward as deliberate.

But, talking in parliament on Monday, Mr Abe admitted for the primary time that Tokyo 2020 could should be delayed.

“If it is difficult to hold (the games) in a complete way, a decision of postponement would be unavoidable as we think the athletes’ safety is paramount,” he mentioned.

But he insisted the video games wouldn’t be cancelled altogether.

The Olympics have by no means been postponed or cancelled in peacetime. The 1940 Olympics – which had been referred to as off due to World War Two – had been because of be held in Tokyo.

What is the International Olympic Committee’s place?

On Sunday, the IOC mentioned it had given itself a deadline of 4 weeks to decide on the 2020 video games.

It mentioned postponement was one “scenario”, however insisted that cancellation “would not solve any of the problems or help anybody”.

In a letter to athletes, IOC president Thomas Bach mentioned: “Human lives take precedence over everything, including the staging of the games…

“At the tip of this darkish tunnel we’re all going by way of collectively, not realizing how lengthy it’s, the Olympic flame shall be a lightweight on the finish of this tunnel.”

What do other countries and athletes say?

On Monday, Australia told its athletes to prepare for an Olympics and Paralympics in the northern summer of 2021.

“It’s clear the video games cannot be held in July,” Australian chef-de-mission Ian Chesterman said.

On Sunday, the head of World Athletics, Sebastian Coe, wrote to Mr Bach to say holding the games in July was “neither possible nor fascinating”.

USA Track and Field has called for a postponement, as has the opponents’ group Global Athlete.

“As the pandemic will get worse and worse and there are increasingly more societal restrictions put in place, I believe the decision must be made now,” mentioned British cyclist Callum Skinner, who fronts the Global Athlete.

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Media captionKenyan athletics star Eliud Kipchoge explains how he is retaining match whereas in quarantine

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