World Athletics has indicated it would be ready to move the 2021 world championships to another date as its president, Sebastian Coe, called for the Olympic Games in Tokyo to be postponed. Photo: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
World Athletics has indicated it would be ready to move the 2021 world championships to another date as its president, Sebastian Coe, called for the Olympic Games in Tokyo to be postponed. Photo: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

World Athletics ready to work with IOC on Olympic postponement

By dpa correspondents Time of article published Mar 23, 2020

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BERLIN - World Athletics has indicated it would be ready to move the 2021 world championships to another date as its president, Sebastian Coe, called for the Olympic Games in Tokyo to be postponed.

The sport's governing body said in a statement it welcomes discussions with the IOC to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and it was "ready to work with the (International Olympic Committee) IOC and all sport on an alternative date" for the Tokyo Games.

A World Athletics spokesperson confirmed to dpa this would include "also dates in 2021."

Coe was widely reported as telling IOC president Thomas Bach in a letter that an Olympics in July 2020 is "neither feasible or desirable."

Quoted by the BBC, Coe said in his letter: "No-one wants to see the Olympic Games postponed but as I have said publicly, we cannot hold the event at all costs, certainly not at the cost of athlete safety, and a decision on the Olympic Games must become very obvious very quickly."

The 2021 athletics world championships is scheduled in Eugene, Oregon from August 6 to 15.

World Athletics has already discussed with the Oregon 21 organizing committee a possible postponement of the Tokyo Games to next year. Oregon 21 has said it would talk to its partners on alternative dates for the world championships if it became necessary.

The IOC said Sunday it would make a decision on any postponement of the Tokyo Games, due to open on July 24, within four weeks. A postponement by one year would seem the likeliest scenario.

On Sunday, Canada became the first major country to withdraw from the summer's Olympics and Paralympics while calling for a postponement for a year.

Australia has told its athletes to prepare for postponement while there have been multiple calls to delay from the influential United States.

US athletics and swimming federations have been among sports bodies around the world calling for a postponement.

Olympic javelin champion Thomas Roehler, who is an athletes' spokesperson at World Athletics, said athletes supported a delay to 2021 as "offering the maximum safety."

The 28-year-old German told German broadcasters ARD and ZDF the athletes' view would be presented to Coe at a telephone conference later Monday.

A four-week wait now for a decision from the IOC is "a very, very long period," Roehler said.

"Four weeks that we have to stay fit, even though we don't know for what we're training. We are trying to get faster, more precise decisions."

The 2016 gold medallist says he is currently training on his terrace at home. "We all want fair competition, which is no longer possible at the moment," he said.

dpa

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