In Brief

IOC set for crisis talks over Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Japanese PM Shinzo Abe says the Olympics will go ahead but there are calls for a postponement

Abe says Games will go ahead - but IOC plan talks

While most sports have been wiped off the calendar because of the coronavirus pandemic the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games remain on the schedule - as things stand. 

At the weekend the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged that the Games would be held as planned with the mega-event set to start in Tokyo on 24 July. 

Al Jazeera reports that Abe has “no immediate intention to declare a state of emergency over the virus outbreak” and when asked about the Olympics he told reporters: “We will respond by closely coordinating with officials concerned, including the IOC [International Olympic Committee]. There is no change in this.

“We want to hold the Olympics as planned without any trouble by overcoming the spread of infections.”

Despite Abe’s comments the IOC is set to hold crisis talks on Tuesday with member organisations. 

A source close to the IOC has told Agence-France Presse (AFP) that the conference call will “keep the international federations informed of the situation, as well as the National Olympic Committees and athletes”.

AFP adds that the IOC “will take stock of the actions taken” and the federations “will have the opportunity to ask questions”.

Coronavirus stops sport: what is cancelled or postponed?

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Learmonth: Olympics need to be postponed

British athlete Guy Learmonth has called for clarity on the situation and believes that the Olympics should be postponed to October or even later. 

The 800m runner, who captained Team GB at the 2019 European Indoor Championships, told The Guardian: “We have no idea how bad this is going to get, and what we have seen so far might be the tip of the iceberg.

“Of course the IOC and the whole world wants a successful Olympics. But for that to happen I strongly believe the event needs to be postponed - unless the authorities can guarantee it will be business as usual, which I don’t believe they can. 

“Purely from an athlete’s point of view here, we need some clarity, transparency and flexibility. Because the press conference that I saw from the Japanese prime minister didn’t exactly fill me full of confidence that these Games are going to go ahead whatsoever.”

The 27-year-old added: “We have to be realistic. If the British government are saying the peak is going to hit us around May or June there might not even be any Olympic trials. The Australians have already had theirs cancelled and I fear that this is going to be happening a lot throughout Europe as the weeks and months go by. 

“I’d be happy if they postponed until at least October - or maybe later to 2021 or 2022. At least that would give the athletes time to now plan, train, and more importantly, time for this virus to settle down.” 

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