Tokyo Olympics 2020: Swimming Australia urges IOC, organisers to ensure 'level playing field' at Games amid coronavirus pandemic
Swimming has been a regular source of medals at the Olympics and world championships for Australia
Sydney: Australia's swimmers are more concerned about a level playing field than ruling the pool at the Olympics.
The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 10,000 people and infected more than 240,000, sending some cities into lock down, some countries to close borders and most major sports events and leagues to be suspended, postponed or canceled.
The IOC and Tokyo organizers still maintain that the Olympic will start as scheduled on 24 July, despite travel bans, isolation requirements and other issues meaning thousands of athletes still haven't qualified for their events.
"We are still preparing for the Olympics and Paralympics to the best of our ability but we absolutely understand that for a lot of our peers and colleagues this isn’t the reality anymore, as it may not be for us soon,” Swimming Australia said in a release co-signed by head coach Jacco Verhaeren on Friday, not long after Olympic flame from Greece landed in Japan.
“We hope the IOC and (Paralympic organisers) are considering everything they can to ensure that there is a level playing field, with athletes being able to perform in healthy conditions."
The key theme? It would be fairer to postpone the Olympics.
Swimming has been a regular source of medals at the Olympics and world championships for Australia, where the climate, location and relatively high number of Olympic-size pools is an advantage, but not an insurmountable one.
“At the heart of the Olympic and Paralympic competition is the notion of fair play – a value we hold very close, and we do not want that to be compromised," the statement continued. "We know athlete preparation is being severely compromised. Friendship and solidarity are important Olympic and Paralympic values and we stand with you in this time of uncertainty."
The COVID-19 illness causes mild or moderate symptoms in most people, but severe symptoms are more likely in the elderly or those with existing health problems. More than 86,000 people have recovered so far, mostly in China.
PT Usha had filed her nomination papers for the top job on Sunday, along with 14 others from her team for the various posts.
PT Usha, a top sprinter of her times, has also been elected as one of the eight Sports Persons of Outstanding Merit (SOM) by the Athletes Commission of the IOA.
The race will conclude with a potentially decisive individual time-trial instead of the traditional sprint finish over eight laps of the Champs-Elysees.