Tokyo: Japanese football international Nahomi Kawasumi said on Monday she was withdrawing from the Tokyo 2020 torch relay, citing worry about the risk of being infected with the coronavirus, or infecting others, if she travelled back from the United States.
Kawasumi, a high-profile athlete in Japan known for helping her country win its first World Cup in 2011, plays for Sky Blue FC in New Jersey, near New York City which has seen a surge in coronavirus infections.
“Because of the new coronavirus, I am withdrawing from the torch replay,” she said on Twitter.
The torch relay is scheduled to start on Thursday and is expected to run as per schedule, however, doubts over Olympics being held on time, from 24 July, also continue to grow due to the coronavirus outbreak.
On Monday, Canada and Australia's Olympic committees announced that their athletes won't take part if the Games are held in 2020. In fact, Australian Olympic Committee has even asked its athletes to prepare for 2021, being confident that Olympics would be postponed.
Meanwhile, International Olympic Committee and the local organisers have also started to change their stances on Games being held on time.
The local organising committee on Monday announced the postponement of the event was being considered as coronavirus continues to spread its wings. The announcement was made by local organising committee president Yoshiro Mori.
“We’re not decided on postponing the Olympics, but we can’t not consider it as a realistic option either,” Mori told a news conference.
“I’m not so foolish as to insist that the Olympics go ahead as initially planned, given the spread and impact the novel coronavirus crisis has inflicted across the world," Mori said.
With inputs from Reuters
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Updated Date: Mar 23, 2020 16:08:52 IST