Can't guarantee that Olympics will be held in a year's time: Coe

Sajith B Warrier

Bengaluru, May 16: World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said nobody can give any guarantee about events, including Tokyo Olympics, happening in a year's time in the post coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic scenario.

Athletics like other key sports has seen its calendar and finances badly hit by the postponement of this year's Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The Athletics World championships planned for 2021 had also to be pushed back by a year to allow for a provisional plan to stage the Tokyo Games next year instead.

The Diamond League may only start in August and finish in October.

Against this backdrop, Coe said no one could give an assurance that the Olympics will be held.

"Speculating about something that's over a year away is unhelpful. We're trying to give the athletes some clarity about the calendar and speculation from scientists and medical experts doesn't help," Coe told a selected group of Indian journalists in a webinar.

The chief of 2012 London Games organising committee hoped that situation would improve in a year.

"I hope that the pandemic will be contained so that we don't have to cancel the Games," he added.

The double-Olympic gold medallist also admitted that the competitions will look very different with athletes battling each other in empty stadiums.

"Meeting directors will have to take their own decisions about how to get athletes to competition in a safe and secure manner that doesn't risk infection," he said.

"Each event will have to decide on a format for competition with these safety considerations two months in advance.

"Everybody is waiting to return to competition and organisers will have to be as creative and ingenious as possible in the current circumstances."

The British double Olympian Coe added there would be greater use of technology to make events more exciting for television viewers and to adapt to the coronavirus threat.

"If you think of relay, the baton exchange could be another source of infection, but we're are finding ways to organise it," he said.

"As a runner I can feel the emotions of the athletes if there's only training and no competition. Therefore we want to provide them with an opportunity to compete and perform."

(With inputs from Agencies)

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