Sunday 5 April, 2020

Coronavirus: Glen Mills urges Tokyo Olympics postponement

World-renowned Jamaican track and field coach Glen Mills.

World-renowned Jamaican track and field coach Glen Mills.

World-renowned Jamaican track and field coach Glen Mills has called for the Tokyo Olympics to be postponed until 2021 as the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic continues to claim lives around the world.

Mills, who coached the now-retired Usain Bolt to eight Olympic gold medals and 11 world championship titles, told Reuters that "my recommendation would be to postpone the Olympics until next year."

He further added that "this would be unprecedented, but we are in unprecedented time. Move everything up one year and then everything will eventually fall back in place.

"But I don't think that the Olympics will take place at the time that is specified (July and August) because the outbreak is worldwide and in some countries, it is just starting to accelerate.

"I can't see the Olympics going ahead; taking persons from all over the world and bringing them to one central point."

There have been other similar calls for the Tokyo Olympics to be postponed

The U.S. track federation added its name to that list on Saturday.

In a letter to the CEO of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC), USA Track and Field CEO Max Siegel urged the federation to advocate for the postponement of the Games.

USATF joins USA Swimming, which sent a similar letter to the USOPC on Thursday.

Bazil’s Olympic Committee has also called for a postponement until 2021.

The Brazilian body said in a statement published on Saturday that the decision is a necessity due to the seriousness of the pandemic and “the consequent difficulty for athletes to keep their best competitive level.”

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Tokyo organisers have maintained that the Games should go ahead as scheduled to start on July 24.

Mills also pointed out that his current athletes at the Racers Track Club have been unable to train since Wednesday because of measures taken by Jamaica in a bid to prevent — or at least limit — a repeat of what has happened in China and southern Europe.

On Friday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness revealed that three more infections of the coronavirus have been confirmed in Jamaica, raising the tally to 19 cases in the island.

"Right now the important thing is for them to isolate themselves and follow social distancing," Mills said.

"The athletes have been instructed to do whatever exercises they can do at home and if they have any open spaces to exercise until the training facilities reopen and then we can re-start proper training."

More than 275,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed globally, including over 11,000 deaths, according to a running tally by Johns Hopkins University. At least 88,000 people have recovered.

For most people, the new virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority recover.

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