Not practical to hold Olympics now, says Norza

  • Other Sports
  • Wednesday, 25 Mar 2020

PETALING JAYA: Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria (pic) reckons that the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Games is inevitable.

Heavyweights Canada and Australia have pulled out the Olympics because of the risks associated with the Covid-19 outbreak, while the head of World Athletics, Sebastian Coe, has also called for a postponement, saying it was “neither feasible nor desirable” for the Games to be held from July 24-Aug 9.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has also conceded that the Covid-19 might force the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics, but that decision may offer Malaysia a silver lining.

Norza said that, at the moment, only 12 Malaysian athletes have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics although the OCM have a target of sending a contingent of 30-35 athletes to Japan.

He added that a large number of Malaysian athletes are in the dark as their qualifying competitions have been suspended and are hoping the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will be fair to all athletes in the event there are changes to the qualification process.

“For us, the athletes and the officials’ health and well-being are more important than anything else but we will see what the decision is from the IOC and Tokyo 2020 organisers first,” said Norza.

“A number of countries and athletes are pressuring for the Tokyo Olympics to be postponed and there are athletes who are threatening to pull out so this has put IOC and the organisers under pressure.”

“I believe postponing the Olympics is the best option at the moment because there are a few of our athletes who are in limbo over whether they can qualify as their qualifying competitions have been suspended due to the Covid-19.”

Norza added that sending a mere 12 athletes to the Tokyo Olympics was not an ideal situation given the huge investment from the Government.

“This Covid-19 situation is something unprecedented and we hope the situation improves in the next two to three months. We want to send a contingent of the right size,” said Norza.

“For the time being, we will keep the National Sports Associations (NSA) and athletes updated on the status of their Olympic qualifying competitions. We hope the athletes keep adhere to the movement control order (MCO) and stay healthy.”
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