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US Olympic Committee calls for postponement of Tokyo 2020

Washington, March 24 (IANS) The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee has said that “the path toward postponement” of the Tokyo Games is “most promising” after surveying about 2,000 American athletes.

The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee sent a survey over the weekend to more than 4,000 athletes on the coronavirus pandemic and the Games, and they received responses from 1,780, reports Xinhua news agency.

“We have heard a wide range of viewpoints and understand the diversity of challenges our athletes face. We regret that there is no outcome that can solve all the concerns we face. Our most important conclusion from this broad athlete response is that even if the current significant health concerns could be alleviated by late summer, the enormous disruptions to the training environment, doping controls and qualification process can’t be overcome in a satisfactory manner,” the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee said in a statement.

“To that end, it’s more clear than ever that the path toward postponement is the most promising, and we encourage the IOC to take all needed steps to ensure the Games can be conducted under safe and fair conditions for all competitors,” the statement said.

“We look forward to their feedback and direction, and stand ready to work in support of Team USA and in full cooperation with the global community,” it added.

In regards to why the Games should not be held as scheduled, a majority of respondents cited an inability to train consistently. Nearly two-thirds of athletes felt that continuing to train would put their health at risk while 87 per cent of athletes said local regulations in terms of the coronavirus already affected their training. 92.73 per cent of athletes surveyed preferred postponement to outright cancellation of the Games.

Pressure mounted over the weekend as World Athletics, the international federation that oversees track and field, publicly called for the games to be postponed.

The Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committees announced on Sunday that they will not send a delegation of athletes to the Tokyo Games unless they were postponed.

Australia’s Olympic Committee also released a similar statement, saying that its athletes should prepare for a Tokyo Olympic Games “in the northern summer of 2021”.

–IANS

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