The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has made it clear it will wait for at least a month before making any call on the country’s participation in the Tokyo Olympic Games which are in doubt amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“We will have to wait for at least a month before taking any decision regarding sending our athletes to Tokyo for the Olympic Games. Right now, we are closely monitoring the situation with the International Olympic Committee and thus, it would not be right to make any statement now,” IOA General Secretary Rajeev Mehta told IANS.
“We have to wait for a month and then we can make a decision in consultation with the IOC and our sports ministry as well,” he added.
This response from the IOA comes after Canada announced that they will not send their athletes to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games due to the COVID-19 which has claimed over 14,000 lives across the world. Australia has withdrawn from the competition too.
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 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.”
IOC chief Thomas Bach, in an open letter to athletes around the world, however, said a decision on when to hold the Games would be made “within the next four weeks”.
Meanwhile, World Athletics has said that it is ready to work with the IOC to find an alternative time period in which to hold the Tokyo Games.
Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has also said that the Tokyo Games could be postponed due to the global spread of coronavirus. “If it is difficult to hold the games in such a way, we have to decide to postpone it, giving top priority to (the health of the) athletes,” Abe told the parliament on Monday.
But Abe stressed that the Games will by no means be cancelled. “Cancellation is not an option,” Abe said.