Friday 10 April, 2020

JAAA welcomes Tokyo 2020 postponement

Omar McLeod (right) was one of Jamaica's medallists at the last Olympic Games. McLeod created history, becoming the first Jamaican to win the 110m hurdles at any major championships after clocking 13.05 seconds for victory at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Omar McLeod (right) was one of Jamaica's medallists at the last Olympic Games. McLeod created history, becoming the first Jamaican to win the 110m hurdles at any major championships after clocking 13.05 seconds for victory at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) has welcomed the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced a first-of-its-kind postponement of the Summer Olympics on Tuesday, bowing to the realities of a coronavirus pandemic that is shutting down daily life around the globe and making planning for a massive worldwide gathering in July a virtual impossibility.

President of the JAAA, Dr Warren Blake said the importance of safeguarding the health of Jamaican athletes is among the JAAA’s prime objectives.

"we more or less expected it because the threat affected the whole world and not just Japan. With all the people that would be coming together in a confined area, from spectators, in the athlete villages, officials and coaches, different people from all over the globe, it would be in these committees best interest to postpone the spectacle to minimize the chances of spreading the virus further," Dr Blake further said.

The Olympic postponement takes the pressure off athletes who need high-intensity training at a time when many facilities are closed because of the pandemic.

The IOC said the Tokyo Games “must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020, but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.”

IOC President Thomas Bach and Japanese prime minister Abe Shinzo met via phone Tuesday morning, and they, along with a handful of executives from the IOC and Japan’s organizing committee, agreed to make the call to delay games that have been reported to cost upward of $28 billion to stage.

Other Olympics — 1916, 1940 and 1944 — have been canceled because of war, but none have ever been postponed for any reason, let alone a renegade virus that has accounted for more than 375,000 cases worldwide, with numbers growing exponentially. 

More than 400,000 people worldwide have been infected and over 18,000 have died, according to a running count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

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