Coronavirus Outbreak: Sport, on this occasion, had to take a back seat, says Sebastian Coe on Olympics being postponed
Former Olympic champion and organiser of the 2012 Games in London, Sebastian Coe supported the decision to push the Games back to 2021.
World Athletics president Sebastian Coe on Sunday stated the decision to postpone the Tokyo Olympics will save athletes from "mental turmoil." The Games were postponed on Tuesday after a conference between the Japanese organisers and IOC. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the sporting calendar has been significantly impacted with athletes unable to put in the required training. Further, many countries have imposed travel lockdown which have created further difficulties.
Former Olympic champion and organiser of the 2012 Games in London, Coe supported the decision to push the Games back to 2021 and said competitors would have been placed in an impossible position if the event had been left to start on 24 July as scheduled.
"We didn't want to have the athletes in a position where they were countering government advice, maybe even breaking the law," Coe told TalkSport.
"And of course in the back of their minds was always that concern, it wasn't just their own training programme, but that they ran the risk of effectively infecting themselves, their families, their kids, grandparents or parents, and we just wanted to take them out of that mental turmoil as quickly as we possibly could.
"We're no different from everyone else out there but I think we just concluded that sport, on this occasion, had to take a back seat."
Prior to the decision to postpone the Olympics, Coe sent a letter to IOC President Thomas Bach and cited issues of fairness, the increased likelihood of injuries if athletes have to rush through training and the uncertainty caused by public health issues if Games went ahead as planned.
Coe further reiterated that nobody wants to see the Olympics postponed, but it can't be held at all costs, specifically the cost of athlete safety.
Eight years after gold ticker tape rained down as Tokyo celebrated winning the right to stage the Games, Friday's opening ceremony will take place with the Japanese capital in a state of emergency.
The total number of Games-related COVID-19 cases now stands at 58.
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