Athletes accuse Olympic organizers of 'putting them in danger' amid COVID-19 crisis
In recent weeks, the world has seen establishments such as movie theaters, restaurants, and retailers close down due to fears surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. It has also seen popular and highly anticipated events such as the Glastonbury music festival being canceled in a bid to slow the spread of the deadly disease.
However, one particular sporting event, set to be the biggest international event of the year, has notably not been canceled. The 2020 Summer Olympics are set to go ahead in Tokyo this summer, despite much of the world taking measures to prevent or even ban any sort of large-scale gatherings or crowds.
Over the weekend, Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, confirmed the decision, per the BBC, while adding that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) would have the final say.
In the wake of the decision, some Olympic athletes are openly accusing the organizers of putting them in "danger".
Greece's Katerina Stefanidi took to Twitter to share her thoughts, writing: "This is not about how things will be in 4 months. This is about how things are now. The IOC wants us to keep risking our health, our family’s health and public health to train every day? You are putting us in danger right now, today, not in 4 months."
Britain's Katarina Johnson-Thompson, the world heptathlon champion, cast doubt over whether asking athletes to "continue to prepare for the Olympic Games as best they can" was the right thing considering the circumstances.
"The information of the IOC and the local governments are at odds with one another," she wrote, "I feel under pressure to train and keep the same routine which is impossible. It's difficult [to] approach the season when everything has changed in the lead-up apart from the ultimate deadline."
Meanwhile, Olympic qualifying tournaments have either been canceled or postponed, with only 57 percent of athletes having booked their places thus far, the Daily Mail reports.Vanessa Hudgens has come under fire for her 'insensitive' comments about coronavirus:
And yesterday, it emerged that the Deputy Chief of Tokyo Olympics himself had tested positive for coronavirus.
Nevertheless, the IOC insists, per the Daily Mail, that "there is no need for any drastic decisions at this stage' adding that "any speculation at this moment would be counter-productive".