US Track and Field joins calls for Olympics to be postponed due to pandemic

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.

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.

2017 IAAF World Championships – Day Eight – London Stadium
Jade Lally says athletes cannot prepare for the Olympics (Adam Davy/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.”

Four Portsmouth players – James Bolton, Andy Cannon, Sean Raggett and Haji Mnoga – have tested positive for the virus.

Pompey’s players were tested following their FA Cup clash against Arsenal after several of the Gunners squad had been in contact with Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis on the night of their Europa League tie.

Marinakis confirmed he had the virus on March 10.

Portsmouth chief executive Mark Catlin told the club’s website: “Football is not immune from this virus and I can assure you that it only really hits home when those that you know contract it.”

Thank you for the messages. I’m doing everything as told & trying to keep positive 👍🏻 Take care everybody out there & the people I’ve been engaged with 🤲🏻💙 #AC14https://t.co/idEYOhy7wY

— Andy Cannon (@andycannon96) March 21, 2020

The 2020 Ice Hockey World Championship has been cancelled, the International Ice Hockey Federation has announced.

Great Britain were due to take part at the tournament which was scheduled to be played in Zurich and Lausanne, Switzerland from May 8-24.

On a more positive note Manchester United and Manchester City have donated a combined £100,000 to help food banks in Greater Manchester.

The city rivals have joined forces to help meet increased demand from vulnerable people as a result of the pandemic.

City and United fans’ groups usually collect supplies outside Old Trafford and the Etihad before home games, but this has been interrupted by the suspension of football.

Each club is giving £50,000 to the Trussell Trust, which supports a network of over 1,200 food bank centres, including 19 in the Greater Manchester area which will be the beneficiaries of the donation.

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