Sport Ireland CEO John Treacy has called upon the IOC to look at postponing the Olympic Games in Tokyo beyond this summer.
With concerns increasing every day surrounding the coronavirus crisis, the IOC said on Tuesday there was no need for “any drastic decisions at this stage”.
The four-time Olympian and former Marathon silver-medalist described the uncertainty around qualification as difficult and impossible to plan for with the summer games in Tokyo just four months away.
Conscious of how the ongoing pandemic is affecting Irish athletes, Treacy suggests postponing the games until he autumn at the very least before deciding whether it would be best to host them next year instead. Either way, he feels a decision needs to be made sooner rather than later.
“I think the least-worst option would be to put them back until the autumn,” says Treacy, as reported by The Irish Times.
“If that doesn’t happen, then give it the year. In fairness to some athletes if they push them back any longer, say 2022, it would to be too long.
“That decision needs to come sooner rather than later. Athlete welfare is the most important thing here, should be the basis for any decision. Time is running out. If I was an athlete, I would prefer if they had decided by now, that we’re going to push this back to the autumn time. It would take some of the pressure off in terms of qualification, which is big uncertainty right now, a huge issue.”
Sport Ireland’s chief executive looked to this week’s Olympic boxing qualifying tournament in London which was called to halt eight days early as Covid-19 fears intensified.
“From the athlete’s point of view, we saw the situation with our boxers at the qualifying tournament in London last weekend. The tournament was abandoned, and rightly so. Brendan Irvine was the one boxer who got across the line , which is fabulous, but for the rest of them, who put all their nervous energy and physical conditioning into this, it’s very demoralising.
“Now, if you haven’t qualified already, where will that chance come? When is it going to be? And it’s impossible to plan for a peak when you don’t know any of that. If you look at track and field, it’s all about peaking, usually once or twice in any given season.”