Health & safety of athletes is prime concern of IOA: Batra

Source : IANS
Author : IANS
Last Updated: Mon, Mar 23rd, 2020, 18:32:32hrs

New Delhi, March 23 (IANS) The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Monday said there will be no compromise on the health and safety of athletes after Canada created a flutter by becoming the first nation to pull out of the Olympics due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"I am personally in touch on regular and continuous basis with Union Ministry of Sports, Sports Authority of India, International Olympic Committee, National Sports Federations in India, with Athletes thru the NSF's and all stake holders regarding the 2020 Olympics and preparations for Olympics," IOA President Narinder Batra said in a statement.

"All Olympic sports International Federations had a video call with the IOC President on 17th March and all 206 NOC's had a video call with the IOC President on 19th March to discuss on Covid-19 and the Olympics. All NOC's have to get back to IOC this week on their preparations and the health of Athletes in their respective countries.

"The Health & Safety of Athletes is prime concern of IOA and of the Union Sports Ministry and there will be no compromise in this regard. As of now, Hockey Men & Women, Athletics and Weightlifting Athletes are in their training camps while other probable athletes are mostly back home," he added.

The IOA is yet to take a call on India's participation at the showpiece event.

A clutch of top athletes and sports bodies have rammed up pressure on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to postpone the Tokyo Olympics scheduled to be held in July-August.

World Athletics chief Sebastian Coe has written a letter to IOC president Thomas Bach, calling in postponement of Tokyo Olympic Games amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Tokyo Games are due to start from July 24 but the rising concern over the spread of coronavirus and the havoc it has wreaked on the qualification calendar has led to questions being raised on whether the organisers can go through with the scheduled date.

The IOC and Japanese government, under increasing pressure to take action, have flagged that postponement was possible. IOC has stated that postponing the 2020 Olympics is one option amid the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, although it added that cancelling the Games altogether is "not on the agenda.

Bach, in an open letter to athletes around the world, said a decision on when to hold the Games would be made "within the next four weeks".

Canada has already announced that they will not send their athletes to the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic Games due to the COVID-19 which has claimed over 14,000 lives across the world.

In a statement, the Canadian Olympic Committee said on Sunday night it will not send teams to Tokyo unless the Games, which are scheduled to be held from July 24 to August 9, are postponed by a year.

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has also said that they could not assemble a team for the Tokyo 2020 and thus their athletes should prepare for Olympic Games which look all set to be played in the summer of 2021.