The decision is still awaited on a postponement to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games but it now looks inevitable as countries and sporting bodies line up to call for certainty amid solidarity with the world in crisis.
Australia and Canada have formally withdrawn and others are sure to follow in the coming days if the IOC stick to their proposed schedule on a decision of four weeks.
The Olympic Federation of Ireland acted yesterday to gather the views of sporting administrators and athletes around Ireland in a democratic move that will allow the full range of views to be made known.
There are four key areas where views have been sought.
1) The current environment for individual sports at an elite level for those athletes tracking towards Tokyo
2) Restrictions to the training environment for their elite athletes
3) A general qualitative update on the current mood and any concerns that they have
4) On the basis that the OFI feels that Games are likely to be postponed, what is their current position on halting training sessions temporarily at this point
Contact is in addition being made through the OFI Athletes Commission with all athletes on the long list for Tokyo to assess their training restrictions and establishing a sense of their major concerns in this unprecedented situation.
The information will then be used to feed into a country by country update that the IOC said it will be asking for from all National Olympic Committees.
“We have heard the latest update from the IOC regarding the Games, and we await in due course further information from them,” said OFI President Sarah Keane.
“However, we need to consider what’s right for our athletes, coaches, federations and all involved in supporting the system in Ireland at this time.”
“This does include considering if our potential Olympians can and/or should continue to engage in organised training for the foreseeable future.”
“This may go against the grain of what they are used to doing day in day out, however at this time, all options must be considered which we will do in conjunction with our Member Federations, athletes, Sport Ireland and other stakeholders.”
“We can and are providing input into the IOC as the ultimate decision-making body for the 2020 Olympic Games. However, we can make decisions in Ireland in the best interests of Team Ireland and all involved.”
“Our National Federations, our Performance Directors and athletes have responded incredibly well in the face of the Covid 19 pandemic,” added Team Ireland Chef de Mission, Tricia Heberle.
“On the premise that Tokyo 2020 will be postponed, we now need to get their input before taking the next steps.”
This is an unprecedented situation where the next major step in terms of a postponement is inevitable but where the way in which the planning of how the stage after that is handled will be critical for those taking part and for the short term future of the Olympic and Paralympic movement.
Making sure that Ireland’s voice is clear and that all those involved have had a chance to contribute their views is vital and that is what is being done.
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