Pressure is being mounted on Japanese Olympic Commitee chiefs to consider a postponement of the 2020 Olympics following escalating cases of the coronavirus.
The flu-like virus, which originated in China last year, has infected over 274,000 people globally and caused more than 11,000 deaths. It has also brought the sporting world to a standstill.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Tokyo organisers have maintained that the July 24-Aug. 9 Games should go ahead as scheduled but WPA executive director, Brendan Schwab said the IOC must consult more athletes before making decisions.
But Sport and Rights Alliance (SRA) and the World Players Association (WPA) said yesterday that the IOC should review plans to go ahead with the Tokyo Olympics during the coronavirus pandemic and ensure dialogue with athletes,
“With the world in a pandemic, holding mega-sporting events including the Olympic Games demands a deep review and broader consultations than are occurring now, including with athletes and their representatives,” Schwab said in a statement.
Thousands of Olympic hopefuls have been left in limbo with many qualifying events around the world postponed or cancelled.
Minky Worden, the director of global initiatives at Human Rights Watch which is part of the SRA coalition of global non-governmental organisations, said sports bodies had to be more transparent at this time.
A senior official of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics organizing committee said on Saturday it is not at the stage of deciding whether or not to postpone or cancel the event, Kyodo news agency reported.
“The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is the one making the final decision. We will firmly continue our efforts to host the event in July,” Toshiaki Endo, vice president of the committee, told Kyodo news.
Norway’s Olympic committee has become the latest nation to ask for the rescheduling of the Games, joining Colombia and Slovenia have made similar requests.