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Pressure grows on Olympics chiefs as US Athletics joins calls for Games postponement

It would be the ‘right and responsible thing to do’ they say.

US TRACK AND Field has become the most high-profile sporting body to call for this summer’s Tokyo Olympics to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In an email, USATF urged the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee to make representations about delaying the 2020 Games, as the “right and responsible thing to do” in the circumstances.

The intervention by USATF follows a statement from USA Swimming on Friday, asking the USOPC to advocate for a one-year postponement due to the tightening coronavirus lockdown.

USATF chief executive Max Siegel wrote: “The right and responsible thing to do is prioritise everyone’s health and safety, and appropriately recognise the toll this difficult situation has, and continues to take, on our athletes and their Olympic Games preparations.

“We are all experiencing unfathomable disruptions, and everyone’s lives are being impacted accordingly.

“For those reasons, USATF is respectfully requesting that the (USOPC) advocate to the IOC for the postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.”

An increasing number of athletes are beginning to speak out over their fears for Tokyo 2020, particularly in relation to social distancing programmes which are making their training programmes impossible to pursue.

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British discus thrower Jade Lally told BBC Sport: “I don’t think it should go ahead as planned. I don’t think July 24 should be the start. It’s too soon.

“I think the IOC are being very insensitive, and I don’t know if blase is maybe the right word, but they’re not thinking about things.

“They can’t tell us to train as normal, because nobody can train as normal. Literally nobody on the planet is training as they normally would.

“For the IOC to say just carry on as normal isn’t fair. It creates more doubt for us as athletes.” 

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