World athletes, national associations express support for postponement of 2020 Olympics

1 / 2
German olympian Franziska Hentke trains at the Federal Base of the German Swimming Association (DSV) in Magdeburg, Germany, on March 24, 2020. (AFP / Ronny Hartmann)
2 / 2
Team USA Kayak athletes practice timed runs along the Potomac River following the announcement of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games, in Bethesda, Maryland. (REUTERS/Tom Brenner)
Short Url
Updated 25 March 2020

World athletes, national associations express support for postponement of 2020 Olympics

LONDON: Athletes, national associations and sporting federation from around the world reacted to the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on Tuesday because of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

After several weeks of intense speculation and criticism at the delay in announcing a delay, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and IOC President Thomas Bach agreed the event would be rescheduled for the summer of 2021 at the latest.

The postponement marks the first break in the four-year cycle for the summer Olympics since the 1940 and 1944 Games were cancelled because of World War Two.

Here are some reactions to the momentous decision:

Andy Anson, chief executive of the British Olympic Association (BOA): “It is with profound sadness that we accept the postponement, but in all consciousness it is the only decision we can support, in light of the devastating impact COVID-19 is having on our nation, our communities and our families. “It is time for them to stop thinking about Tokyo 2020 for now and be home and safe with their families.”

Alejandro Blanco, president of the Spanish Olympic Committee: “The IOC has given us some good news by announcing that the Olympic Games will be postponed. It will allow all athletes to be able to compete in equal conditions and will safeguard their health, just as we have been demanding since this crisis began.”

Indian Olympic Association secretary general Rajeev Mehta: “This decision today, relieves our athletes of worries of having to train now during an epidemic and perform their best in four months from now.”

Alfons Hoermann, President of the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB):“The now quick and clear decision to postpone the Olympic and Paralympic Games is a correct and enormously important step for international sport and the entire world community.

“It confirms to the world population that everything in sports is also being done to bring the global pandemic under control as best as possible and as soon as possible.”

World Rugby: “The health and safety of the athletes, fans, and everyone involved is our shared priority and responsibility and we believe the right decision has been taken in these very difficult and unprecedented circumstances. “We look forward to working closely together in a spirit of partnership with the IOC, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and all other stakeholders towards the rescheduling of the Games and our belief from the outstanding Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan, is that the hosts will come out of this adversity stronger and more committed than ever before to deliver an exceptional Games.” 


Villa’s Grealish apologizes, fined for breaking isolation rules

Updated 30 March 2020

Villa’s Grealish apologizes, fined for breaking isolation rules

  • West Midlands Police said they were called on Sunday to an address in Solihull, near Birmingham, where the two parked cars suffered minor damage
  • Villa expressed their disappointment with Grealish and said the 24-year-old will be fined with the proceeds going to a children’s hospital in Birmingham

LONDON: Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish posted a public apology on Monday for breaking UK government guidelines on social distancing as police opened an investigation into an incident in which a Range Rover crashed into parked cars.
Villa expressed their disappointment with Grealish and said the 24-year-old will be fined with the proceeds going to a children’s hospital in Birmingham.
West Midlands Police said they were called on Sunday to an address in Solihull, near Birmingham, where the two parked cars suffered minor damage.
The force said the driver had left his details with a member of the public before leaving on foot.
“I just want to do a quick video message to say how deeply embarrassed I am about what has happened this weekend,” Grealish said in a video posted on Twitter.
“I obviously just got a call off a friend asking to go round to his and stupidly agreed to do so. I don’t want anyone to make the same mistake that I did, so I urge everyone to stay home and follow the rules and guidelines of what we are being asked to do.”
The British government has introduced restrictions on citizens leaving their homes only to shop for food and medicine, essential travel for work and one form of exercise a day to help halt the spread of coronavirus.
“Aston Villa is deeply disappointed that one of our players ignored the government’s guidance on staying at home during the Coronavirus crisis,” Villa said in a statement.
“Club captain Jack Grealish has accepted that his decision to leave his house was wrong and entirely unnecessary. It breached the government guidelines which are clear and should be adhered to by everybody.
“The player will be disciplined and fined with the proceeds donated to The University Hospitals Charity in Birmingham.”
Less than 24 hours before the incident, Grealish was part of a video appeal for people to stay at home during the lockdown.
“I hope everyone can accept my apology and we can move on from this,” added Grealish. “Hopefully in the near future we can all be out enjoying ourselves again.”
In a statement about the incident, West Midlands Police added: “Officers are investigating the circumstances and anyone with information has been asked to get in touch.”
Grealish has been Villa’s star performer on their return to the Premier League this season and was expected to earn a first call-up by England for friendlies against Denmark and Italy this month prior to football’s shutdown due to COVID-19.