The athletes of Australia were having a mixture of regret and relief on Tuesday after the national Olympic committee's decision of pulling out of the Tokyo 2020 Games because of the coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak.
The Olympic Committee of Australia stated on Monday that the coronavirus pandemcic has made it undefendable to assemble a team for the Games. Two-time Olympic champion Cate Campbell revealed the mood of the hopeful Olympic participants from Australia stating that the virus has shattered the dreams and visions of the future, as reported by Reuters.
"Heartbroken but not surprised," the former 100 metres freestyle world champion wrote on social media. "Yesterday it was Olympic athletes' turn to have their worlds turned upside down. "To be honest, I'm left reeling and feeling a little lost. But the goal posts haven't disappeared - just shifted. It's time to recalibrate and fire up for the next challenge." Keesja Gofers, part of the Australian women's water polo team that had already qualified for Tokyo, said the decision was "devastating" for all athletes competing around the world.
"I have ridden not just a rollercoaster but the entire theme park of emotions," she said on Instagram. "I am relieved. Athletes around the world will now have the chance at a proper preparation and the Olympics can, on whatever date they are held, continue to be a coming together of the world's best at their best."
IOC to take a decision in 4 weeks
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has said it will make a decision on the Tokyo Games within four weeks but IOC member Dick Pound told Reuters on Monday the global body had already decided to postpone the Games. Australia's former IOC vice president Kevan Gosper called on IOC chief Thomas Bach to make the decision immediately rather than wait.
"It is impossible to hold a Games in July which would give all the athletes of the world the opportunity to come. It would also carry risks for the health of the athletes," Gosper told The Australian newspaper on Tuesday. "The IOC president doesn't need more time to make a decision. He needs to move now to end the uncertainty.
"The (athletes) have to be taken off the hook earlier rather than later." More than 337,000 people have been infected by the coronavirus worldwide and over 14,600 have died. Australia went into a national lockdown on Monday, with non-essential businesses and services cancelled as part of containment efforts. After weeks of holding out against tightening travel curbs, Australia's A-League soccer competition was suspended indefinitely on Tuesday due to logistics problems.
"As a national competition, a competition that's played in almost all parts of Australia and also played in New Zealand, mission complicated became mission impossible," Football Federation Australia chief executive James Johnson told a media conference in Sydney.
(With agency inputs)