Dina Asher-Smith has reacted with dismay and anger to news that Olympic chiefs have put off a decision on the Tokyo Games for up to a month.
Britain’s world champion sprinter had been hoping Olympic boss Thomas Bach would announce that the Japan showpiece was being postponed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Instead, after saying that "human lives take precedence over everything, including the staging of the Games”, he simply delayed a verdict for four weeks.
“So wait… does this mean that athletes face up to another FOUR weeks of finding ways to fit in training,” Asher-Smith tweeted.
"Whilst potentially putting ourselves, coaches, support staff and loved ones at risk just to find out they were going to be postponed anyway!!!
“So irresponsible. I was really hoping to hear an announcement that they’d postponed it to 2021 this week…"
Asher-Smith thanked World Athletics for becoming the first International Federation to urge the International Olympic Committee to delay the event.
Seb Coe, president of the sport’s governing body, wrote to Bach saying that Tokyo 2020 taking place as planned this summer is "neither feasible nor desirable” and adding: "I write to you to request that the Games be moved.
"No-one wants to see the Olympic Games postponed but as I have said publicly, we cannot hold the event at all costs, certainly not at the cost of athlete safety, and a decision on the Olympic Games must become very obvious very quickly.
"I believe that time has come and we owe it to our athletes to give them respite where we can."
Coe went on to say that every one of World Athletics' area presidents believe that “we can no longer expect a fair and level playing field in our sport given the number of athletes who are struggling to train in various countries due to measures put in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus”.
He concluded: "If we lose the level playing field, then we lose the integrity of the competition.”
Coe’s concern was echoed by Sir Hugh Robertson, chairman of the British Olympic Association, who encouraged the IOC to get a move on with making their call as “restrictions now in place have removed the ability of athletes to compete on a level playing field”.
Robertson added: “We urge rapid decision-making for the sake of athletes who still face significant uncertainty. It simply does not seem appropriate to continue on the present course towards the Olympic Games in the current environment.”
It seems inconceivable now that either the Olympics or Paralympics can go ahead on time, a point acknowledged by the chair of UK Sport, Dame Katherine Grainger.
“Given the circumstances, today’s news that the IOC are looking at options to postpone the Olympics was inevitable,” she said. “And the correct decision for the safety of athletes, staff and fans.”
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