Olympic athletes told to 'focus on your sport' ahead of Tokyo 2020 despite coronavirus fears

Olympic committee member Dick Pound has confirmed that Tokyo 2020 preparations are going 'very well' (PA Images)
Olympic committee member Dick Pound has confirmed that Tokyo 2020 preparations are going 'very well' (PA Images)
14:23pm, Wed 26 Feb 2020
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International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound has told athletes to 'keep focused on your sport' ahead of Tokyo 2020, despite the coronavirus outbreak. 

Several events have been affected by the spread of the virus including Great Britain women's Olympic basketball qualifiers and the Olympic boxing qualifiers.

Pound told the Associated Press: "As far as we all know, you're going to be in Tokyo.

"All indications are at this stage that it will be business as usual. So keep focused on your sport and be sure that the IOC is not going to send you into a pandemic situation."

The Games are due to take place on July 24, but the final decision of whether they will be running or not will be made until late May. 

Pound said: "You could certainly go to two months out if you had to. A lot of things have to start happening. You've got to start ramping up your security, your food, the Olympic Village, the hotels, the media folks will be in there building their studios. 

"This is the new war and you have to face it. In and around that time, I'd say folks are going to have to as 'Is this under sufficient control that we can be confident about going to Tokyo, or not'?"

Cancelling the Games is 'worst-case scenario' says Pound.

He told BBC Radio 5 live: "We have to think of alternatives. Could you still hold them this year? We would speak with the Japanese government to ask them if this 'bubble' can be held in place.

"Everything is on the table. You could disperse the Games, for example have some events in Canada, some in Britain, etc."

He has confirmed that decisions will be led by the World Health Organisation and individual national governments.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are due to be held from July 24-August 9.

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