US Track and Field calls for Tokyo Olympics to be postponed

US Track and Field has become the most high-profile sporting body to call for a postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

In an email, USATF urged the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee to make representations about delaying the 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 increasing coronavirus lockdown.

In the email, USATF chief executive Max Siegel wrote: “The right and responsible thing to do is prioritize everyone’s health and safety, and appropriately recognize 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.

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

Jade Lally
Jade Lally wants a delay until 2021 (Martin Rickett/PA)

“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.

“We know it can’t possibly happen on the 24th July, it just can’t. If they could tell us they’re looking into delaying it, then it would reassure us because we don’t have to rush for July.”

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