Johnny Watterson on an unequal Olympics; McEnaney to learn his fate
The Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team
Manchester United’s Edinson Cavani celebrates after scoring his side’s first goal during the Europa League quarter-final win over Granada. Photo: Dave Thompson/AP Photo
We’re less than 100 days out from the Olympics now but still the questions swirl as to what type of Games we will see in Tokyo, particularly after a top Japanese official was quoted yesterday saying that a full cancellation is not off the cards. One issue the organising committee and the IOC have been clear on from the start is that it will not be a requirement for athletes to be vaccinated to compete in the Games. However, this morning Johnny Watterson questions in his column whether we can really justify an unequal Games? “Madagascar, Eritrea and Burundi have governments in place that believe the virus can be fought by other means, while the EU and the USA have secured the large majority of vaccines. It is to this backdrop the IOC is insisting that vaccination is not a prerequisite to compete,” he writes. Speaking yesterday to Ian O’Riordan, Irish rower Philip Doyle - who has qualified for Tokyo - said he believes the Games should go ahead and that they would be a real morale-booster after a tough year.
Moving on to rugby and the Ireland women’s team will meet France in Donnybrook tomorrow with the added strength of Sevens players in the squad after the pandemic wiped the world series of the smaller sport off the map for now. Tomorrow Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe will make her 15s debut after Eve Higgins was exposed to the international 15s game in Cardiff Arms Park last week. It’s been a major plus to have the attacking talents of the Sevens players in the squad and it’s something head coach Adam Griggs is reaping benefits from. Should Ireland lose on Saturday and Italy beat Scotland, Ireland will face Italy in Parma on April 26th which could pose a problem for the squad given the quarantine arrangements currently in place here. Last night Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly confirmed that athletes will be exempt from mandatory hotel quarantine but he did say that governing bodies would need to have an equivalent structure in place – something which could cause issues for the Ireland women’s team who are all amateur.