THE PAVILIONS PHUKET BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET
THE PAVILIONS PHUKET BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET Kata Rocks
The Phuket News Novosti Phuket Khao Phuket

Login | Create Account | Search


‘Putting us in danger’ – Olympic athletes’ concerns grow

‘Putting us in danger’ – Olympic athletes’ concerns grow

OLYMPICS: Olympic pole vault champion Katerina Stefanidi said athletes were being forced to take health risks as competitors started to speak out about holding the Tokyo Games during the coronavirus crisis.

Olympics
By AFP

Thursday 19 March 2020, 08:55AM


Greece’s Katerina Stefanidi said training for the Olympics was putting athletes in danger. Photo: AFP

Greece’s Katerina Stefanidi said training for the Olympics was putting athletes in danger. Photo: AFP

Stefanidi and British heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson both voiced concerns after the International Olympic Committee said it was “fully committed” to running the Games as scheduled from July 24.

An IOC member called the body’s stance “insensitive and irresponsible”, saying athletes were facing “anxiety and heartbreak” as they try to train during the virus emergency.

Stefanidi, one of Greece’s most prominent athletes, was scheduled to hand the ceremonial flame to Japanese officials before the Greek leg of the torch relay was scrapped over COVID-19.

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

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

On Tuesday (Mar 17), 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% 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 that 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.

UWC Thailand

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

Bigger than the Olympics’

Doubts are increasingly being expressed about holding the Olympics on time, after the outbreak that first exploded in China spread to Asia and then worldwide, infecting almost 220,000 people and killing almost 9,000.

Yesterday (Mar 18) an Olympic gymnastics qualifier in Tokyo, doubling as a test event, became the latest competition to be cancelled.

A day earlier, the deputy head of Japan’s Olympic committee said he had tested positive for coronavirus.

But the IOC insisted “there is no need for any drastic decisions at this stage” adding that “any speculation at this moment would be counter-productive”.

Hayley Wickenheiser, a Canadian IOC member with four ice hockey gold medals, warned “this crisis is bigger than even the Olympics”.

“From an athlete perspective, I can only imagine and try to empathise with the anxiety and heartbreak athletes are feeling right now,” she said in a statement.

“The uncertainty of not knowing where you’re going to train tomorrow as facilities close and qualification events are cancelled all over the world would be terrible if you’ve been training your whole life for this.”

Wickenheiser added: “I think the IOC insisting this will move ahead, with such conviction, is insensitive and irresponsible given the state of humanity.”

Middle-distance runner Jess Judd also criticised the IOC advice on training, while fellow British track athlete Guy Learmonth has told The Guardian that the Olympics should be postponed.

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

CAPTCHA

Be the first to comment.

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
Phuket bridges and ports closed

The bulleted list does not include supplies and consumer goods, yet boats are allowed to bring suppl...(Read More)


Phuket bridges and ports closed

Apparently the airport is still open? I know domestic flights were still arriving last night. What&#...(Read More)


Six more COVID-19 cases confirmed in Phuket, total hits 47

I agree Rorri_2, and now of course the whole island is isolated from the mainland for the next month...(Read More)


All Phuket beaches closed

That is ridiculous. The sun, and salt water kills the virus. Would you rather lock up people in non ...(Read More)


Europe virus toll surges, peak still far off

And so the economy goes down the drain. All to save maybe 100.000 old,weak or potentially ill people...(Read More)


All Phuket beaches closed

Errr if you paid attention Insp K you would be aware that Songkran celebrations were cancelled weeks...(Read More)


Phuket Governor extends ‘voluntary street curfew’, warns of strict enforcement

Mr Ed: is it not time to quarantine a certain poster? He really brings nothing to the party at pres...(Read More)


Phuket Governor extends ‘voluntary street curfew’, warns of strict enforcement

Phuket Governor extends ‘voluntary street curfew’, warns of strict enforcement. Funniest thing ...(Read More)


All Phuket beaches closed

Stupid is as stupid does...(Read More)


Simply Marvellous: Action and suspense in Spider-Man: Far From Home

Kudos for finding something else to talk about PN but "just released"? I saw this movie li...(Read More)