Bach: Olympics cancellation not on the agenda

The president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach, over the weekend, reiterated that a cancellation of the 2020 Summer Olympics is not on their agenda at the moment as member federations continuously express concern for their athletes safety pertaining to the threat posed by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Olympics is still scheduled for July 24 to August 9 in Tokyo, Japan.

The Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC) has written the Ministry of Health for an advisory on necessary protocol to be adopted leading into the games.

The BOC is also awaiting a decision from the IOC, but as of now they have reserved comment on Team Bahamas’ participation, stating only that the health of the Bahamian athletes and officials will not be compromised.

Bach spoke to the Südwestrundfunk (SWK) newspaper in Germany where he said that there are no ideal solutions to the exceptional situation of COVID-19.

“A cancellation is not on the agenda,” Bach said. “You cannot postpone the Olympic Games like a football match next Saturday… you can only act responsibly if you have reliable and clear basis for decision-making, and we observe them every day, 24 hours per day.”

Bach is an Olympian, winning a gold medal in fencing for West Germany in 1976. He was unable to participate in the 1980 Olympic Games in Russia because of the rift between East and West Germany. Pertaining to these Olympics, Bach said that a cancellation would destroy the dreams of thousands of athletes. Over 11,000 athletes from 206 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) around the world took part in the last Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2016.

Athletes the world over are calling on the IOC to postpone the games due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the difficulty they experience in being able to continue their training.

“It is difficult to deal with this insecurity and even more difficult with these difficult training conditions that many suffer from,” Bach said.

For now, athletes will have to find a way to train as the only official word from Bach and the IOC is that the Olympics Games will run as scheduled. As time goes on, more insight is expected to be shed from the IOC regarding the status of the games.

The iconic Olympic flame arrived in Japan on Friday from Greece. The iconic symbol’s official relay is set to get underway on March 26 from the Fukushima prefecture in Japan, but it is understood that portions of the Olympic torch relay might be cancelled.

In the wake of COVID-19 reaching The Bahamas, the BOC has requested a suspension on all sporting activities in the country and encourages all sporting federations, associations, sporting clubs, athletes and sports officials to adhere to the practices presented by the Ministry of Health, and to listen to credible news sources for further updates.

So far, a total of six Bahamian athletes have qualified for the 2020 Olympic Games – all in track and field. Samson Colebrooke has qualified in the men’s 100 meters (m); world champion Steven Gardiner in the men’s 400m; Jamal Wilson in the men’s high jump; Tynia Gaither in the women’s 100 and 200m; Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo in the women’s 200 and 400m and Pedrya Seymour in the women’s 100m hurdles.

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Simba French

Simba joined The Nassau Guardian in 2012 as a technical producer for Guardian Radio 96.9 FM. He joined the Editorial Department as a sports reporter in 2018. Simba has covered a wide range of sports stories, including the 2018 CARIFTA in Nassau, Bahamas. Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism

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