Tokyo Olympics decision imminent, says World Athletics president Sebastian Coe
"The issue of competition fairness is paramount," says Lord Coe
Last Updated: 22/03/20 5:01pm
World Athletics president Lord Sebastian Coe expects a decision on whether the Tokyo Olympic Games will go ahead to be taken soon.
There have been widespread calls for a delay in the competition, scheduled to begin on July 24, due to the outbreak and spread of the coronavirus.
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"A decision on the Olympic Games may become very obvious very quickly in the coming days and weeks," said Coe.
"As I said last week, I don't think we should have the Olympic Games at all costs, certainly not at the cost of athlete safety.
"The issue of competition fairness is paramount," he said, adding that athletes were struggling to train in various countries due to measures put in place to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, which has killed thousands.
Despite the clamour to delay the Olympics, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has pressed on, saying the Games will go ahead as scheduled.
"This is uncharted territory for all of us," Coe added, ahead of a World Athletics meeting scheduled for early next week to review and discuss the situation.
"If we lose the level playing field, then we lose the integrity of the competition. Nobody wants this, least of all the athletes or the fans."
USA Track and Field, the governing body of American athletics, and USA Swimming have both sought a delay to the Games.
Global Athlete group, who represent a number of athletes, have also called for the postponement of the Olympics.
The group issued a statement on Sunday, saying: "We have heard from hundreds of athletes and today we are calling on both the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to place athlete safety and welfare first by postponing the Games until the Covid-19 global pandemic is under control."
On Saturday, Brazil's Olympic Committee called for the Olympics to be postponed until 2021.
The Brazilian body said in a statement published on Saturday that the decision is a necessity due to the seriousness of the pandemic and "the consequent difficulty for athletes to keep their best competitive level."