UK Athletics chairman Nic Coward believes “stress” caused by the coronavirus pandemic will lead to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics being postponed.
Coward’s comments come amid the cancellation of key qualifying events and mounting athlete criticism of the organisers’ stance to press ahead with plans to stage the Games between July 24 and August 9.
“We thought the facilities would be able to remain open,” Coward told the Daily Telegraph.
“Now they can’t. They are closing. And that is creating stress.
“I think that will have to lead to the conclusion that the Games must be (postponed); that the decision has to be made that the Olympic and Paralympic Games can’t take place as currently scheduled.
“I’ve got no doubt, absolutely no doubt, that Tokyo will host an amazing Olympics.
“The issue right now is people and the stress.”
World Athletics president Lord Coe said on Thursday it was too early for organisers to make a final decision about whether to continue with or delay the Games.
And International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach told the New York Times on Friday: “We don’t know what the situation will be.
“Of course we are considering different scenarios, but we are contrary to many other sports organisations or professional leagues in that we are four and a half months away from the games.
“I will not speculate, but we owe it to all the athletes and we owe to it to all the half of the world that watches the Olympics to say we are not putting the cancellation of the games on the agenda.
“The 206 national Olympic committees and the international sports federations expressed that the world in this extremely difficult and concerning situation needs a symbol of hope.
“So for us, while not knowing how long this tunnel will be, we would like the Olympic flame to be a light at the end of the tunnel.”
The IOC and Tokyo 2020 officials have previously indicated that they would make an announcement by May.