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Australian Olympic Committee backs IOC Tokyo 2020 Games go-ahead despite coronavirus fears


March 19, 2020 10:55:11

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) says it remains “focused on the planning and preparation of the Australian team to the Tokyo Games, for July 24 opening”, despite the threat of the coronavirus.

AOC chief executive Matt Carroll and Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman spoke to the media after speaking with International Olympic Committee (IOC) president, Thomas Bach in a conference call overnight.

“The AOC does not live in a bubble,” Carroll said.

“There is a global health crisis. We recognise that people are suffering, people are sick, people are losing their jobs, businesses are struggling, amid enormous community uncertainty. Things are changing every day.

“The IOC, like all of us, are basing their planning on what they know and are receiving the best advice.”

Carroll said that the IOC is basing its decision on meetings of a taskforce, which is meeting daily with the World Health Organisation.

“The President [Bach] emphasised the IOC is not in an Olympic bubble.

“They, like us are, fully aware of the impact of the COVID-19 having on athlete preparation, their families, and the world community.

“The IOC set out two overriding principles for staging the games and guiding their decision making. To protect the health of everyone involved and support the containment of the virus, [and] to safeguard the interests of the athletes, and of Olympic sport.

“These principles are guiding the IOC’s decision making over the next four months.”

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Chesterman said that the needs of the athlete were at the forefront of his mind.

“I always try to look through the eyes of athletes, athletes who worked for four years, eight years, 12 and more in some cases, and they want their Olympic moment,” he said.

“For many this will be their only opportunity to be at an Olympic Games.

“If everybody is planning for the Games, we must plan for the Games as well, because that’s our obligation to the athletes.

“We know the athletes also want to be there. We need to be able to deliver them safely and get them home safe safely.”

More to come.

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First posted

March 19, 2020 10:38:48

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