Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Narinder Batra said on Monday that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has asked all members to furnish updates on health and preparations of their Olympic-bound athletes this week as it deliberates on the fate of the Tokyo Games amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The IOC, under pressure to postpone the Games, has asked National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to detail the impact of the coronavirus crisis on their athletes’ preparations. The IOC on Monday said it will consider all options, barring cancellation, in the next four weeks.
“I am personally in touch on regular and continuous basis with the Sports Ministry, Sports Authority of India, IOC, NSFs, with athletes through the NSFs and all stake holders regarding the 2020 Olympics and preparations for Olympics,” Batra said.
“All NOCs have to get back to IOC this week on their preparations and the health of athletes in their respective countries,” he added.
He said international federations had a video call with the IOC President Thomas Bach on March 17 and with all 206 NOCs on March 19 to discuss the impact of COVID-19. In a questionnaire titled “COVID-19 and preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games”, the IOC has asked the Olympic committees of its member countries “how do the emergency regulations relating to COVID-19 limit the training and preparation of your athletes?”
Batra, also an IOC member and president of the International Hockey Federation, said the health and safety of athletes was the prime concern of the IOA and of the Sports Ministry and there will be no compromise in that regard.
“As of now, hockey men and women, track and field athletes and weightlifters are in their training camps while other (Olympic) probable athletes are mostly back home.”
More than 70 Indian athletes have qualified for the Olympics. On Monday, Canada and Australia said they will pull out of the showpiece if is is held this year and demanded that the event be shifted to 2021.
World athletics boss Sebastian Coe also urged the IOC to announce postponement, citing the pandemic which has claimed more than 14,000 lives across the globe.
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