‘Unacceptable, irresponsible’ - athletes say their rights are being ignored

Global Athlete organisation criticises IOC for four week wait on Olympics decision

The IOC will take up to four weeks to consider postponing the Tokyo Olympics amid mounting criticism of its handling of the coronavirus crisis that now includes Canada saying it won’t send a team to the games this year. Photograph: AP

The IOC will take up to four weeks to consider postponing the Tokyo Olympics amid mounting criticism of its handling of the coronavirus crisis that now includes Canada saying it won’t send a team to the games this year. Photograph: AP

 

Global Athlete, an organisation which represents potential Tokyo 2020 competitors, has criticised the International Olympic Committee for saying it will make a decision within four weeks on whether to postpone the Olympic Games.

“As the world continues to fight this global pandemic, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) have told athletes of the world they need four weeks to make a decision on whether or not they postpone the Games,” the Global Athlete statement read.

“Such a response is unacceptable, irresponsible, and once again ignores the rights of athletes.

“Over the next four weeks the world is going to increasingly shut down, the Covid-19 virus will sadly take more lives, and without a clear answer, athletes are still being indirectly asked to train. If anyone knows how competitive athletes work, they will stop at nothing to achieve their goals. We understand it is a difficult decision, but the IOC and IPC have a duty of care towards athletes which they have not exercised.

“A clear message should have been sent to all athletes to stop training and observe government mandates to self-isolate. Sport should never be prioritised ahead of public health.”

Irish karate champion Caradh O’Donovan is part of the start-up group who founded Global Athlete. Meanwhile Ireland’s five-time Olympian, Rob Heffernan also believes the Games should be postponed.

The Olympic bronze medalist told Cork’s 96fm: “the fairest thing would be to put them on three months later and give the athletes the chance.”

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