IOC: No 'ideal' solution for coronavirus-threatened Tokyo Olympics

The International Olympic Committee acknowledged there was no “ideal” solution to staging this summer's Tokyo Olympics as the deadly coronavirus swept the globe.

The IOC “will take stock of the actions taken” to respond to the coronavirus crisis.

The IOC “will take stock of the actions taken” to respond to the coronavirus crisis.   -  Getty Images

The International Olympic Committee acknowledged on Wednesday there was no “ideal” solution to staging this summer's Tokyo Olympics as the deadly coronavirus pandemic swept the globe.

“This is an exceptional situation which requires exceptional solutions,” an IOC spokesperson said after criticism from top athletes that they were being forced to take health risks should the July 24-August 9 Games go ahead as scheduled during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“The IOC is committed to finding a solution with the least negative impact for the athletes, while protecting the integrity of the competition and the athletes' health.

“No solution will be ideal in this situation, and this is why we are counting on the responsibility and solidarity of the athletes.”

Earlier Olympic pole vault champion Katerina Stefanidi and British heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson both voiced concerns after the IOC said it was “fully committed” to running the Games as scheduled from July 24.

“The IOC wants us to keep risking our health, our family’s health and public health to train every day?” Stefanidi tweeted.

“You are putting us in danger right now, today, not in 4 months.”

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'Zero risk consideration'

On Tuesday, minutes before the IOC statement, the Euro 2020 football tournament was delayed for a year, bowing to the crisis that has paralysed Europe and drastically curtailed international travel.

Olympic qualifying tournaments are among the swathe of sports events that have been cancelled or postponed, with only 57 per cent of athletes booking their places so far.

“It's unbelievable,” said Stefanidi. “What about team sports that have to train together? What about swimming? What about gymnastics... they touch the same objects?

“There is zero consideration of the risk they are putting us in right now.”

Johnson-Thompson, the world heptathlon champion, criticised the IOC for telling athletes to train “as best they can”, saying it was at odds with stringent government health measures.

“I feel under pressure to train and keep the same routine which is impossible,” she wrote on Twitter.

“It's difficult (to) approach the season when everything has changed in the lead-up apart from the ultimate deadline,” added the Briton.

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