The Tokyo Olympic Games are moving closer to being postponed with Australian athletes told to expect the event to be put off until next year.
Games organisers and the Japanese Government have been under increasing pressure to cancel or reschedule the Games as the virus continues to spread around the world.
The preparations of Australian athletes have also been thrown into disarray following the Federal Government’s shutdown of gyms and sporting centres and the introduction of strict travel bans.
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In a statement, The Australian Olympic Committee has advised athletes to prepare for a Tokyo Olympic Games in the northern summer of 2021.
“The AOC believes our athletes need to prioritise their own health and those around them, and to be able to return to their families in discussion with their National Federation,” AOC Chief Executive Matt Carroll said.
The AOC admits that under current circumstances, it would be next to impossible to assemble an Australian team for the Games.
Mr Carroll says that athletes needed some certainty.
“We have athletes based overseas, training at central locations around Australia as teams and managing their own programs. With travel and other restrictions this becomes an untenable situation.
“The IOC has adopted the key principles of putting athlete health first and ensuring it acted in their best interests and the interests of the sport. This decision reflects those principles.”
The Prime Minister confirmed this morning that the indefinite worldwide travel ban would apply to Olympic athletes, which would prevent them from taking part.
The IOC said on Monday it was considering a postponement of the Games, but it was giving itself four weeks to make a decision.
Canada today became the first country to confirm it would boycott the Games if they go ahead as planned.