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Olympic Federation of Ireland considering whether athletes should suspend Tokyo 2020 training

They also believe the Olympics is ‘likely to be postponed’.

Members of the OFI (file pic).
Members of the OFI (file pic).
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

THE OLYMPIC Federation of Ireland will contact its Tokyo 2020 hopefuls amid uncertainty over whether the Olympics will go ahead this summer, with the discussions set to include the option of halting training sessions temporarily.

In a statement released today, the OFI acknowledged that athletes “have been forced to rethink how they operate due to the global pandemic caused by Covid-19″ and said that Tokyo 2020 was “likely to be postponed”.

The organisation is consequently planning to contact its members to ascertain their views on the following issues:

1) The current environment for their sport at elite level for those athletes tracking towards Tokyo

2) Restrictions to the training environment for their elite athletes

3) A general qualitative update on the current mood and any concerns that they have

4) On the basis that the OFI feels that Games are likely to be postponed, what is their current position on halting training sessions temporarily at this point?

The statement added: “The information will then be used to provide a country by country update that the IOC said it will be asking from all National Olympic Committees.”

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Speaking in response to this latest development, OFI President Sarah Keane said: “We have heard the latest update from the IOC regarding the Games, and we await in due course further information from them. However, we need to consider what’s right for our athletes, coaches, federations and all involved in supporting the system in Ireland at this time. This does include considering if our potential Olympians can and/or should continue to engage in organised training for the foreseeable future.

“This may go against the grain of what they are used to doing day in day out, however at this time all options must be considered which we will do in conjunction with our Member Federations, athletes, Sport Ireland and other stakeholders. We can and are providing input into the IOC as the ultimate decision-making body for the 2020 Olympic Games. However, we can make decisions in Ireland for the best of Team Ireland and all involved.”

Team Ireland Chef de Mission, Tricia Heberle added: “Our National Federations, our Performance Directors and athletes have responded incredibly well in the face of the Covid 19 pandemic. On the premise that Tokyo 2020 will be postponed, we now need to get their input before taking next steps.”

With the coronavirus crisis intensifying, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach has come under renewed pressure to postpone Tokyo 2020, whose opening ceremony is due to get underway on 24 July as it stands.

Canada and Australia have already announced they will not send athletes to the Olympics this summer, while Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has suggested a delay is “inevitable”.

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Paul Fennessy

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