Sri Lanka rues Olympic postponement as hardest on athletes | Sunday Observer

Sri Lanka rues Olympic postponement as hardest on athletes

Flash back: Rio Olympic 2016 - Husain Bolt
Flash back: Rio Olympic 2016 - Husain Bolt

The postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games which was down to commence in July is likely to have an adverse effect on athletes not only in Sri Lanka but in the rest of the world according to the head of the local Olympic Committee.

The Olympic Games were to be hosted by Japan which is said to be one of the few countries where the coronavirus has not had an alarmng impact and postponed by one year after concerns were expressed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and some athletes while Canada declared it will boycott the event if it is held.

“Though it is the right thing to do, it is not the best decision as it will be very unfair by the athletes,” Suresh Subramanium the president of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Sri Lanka told the Sunday Observer.

Several Sri Lankan athletes who are hoping to qualify for the Olympic Games are currently overseas and their current status can be imagined given the state of affairs in the world in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

“The impact on the athletes will be great. It is not easy to train for one more year. The athletes will be one year older. New athletes will come into the limelight and a new criteria will come into effect when selecting a new squad,” said Subramanium.

“For example, imagine Hussain Bolt having to wait another year to run again. He will be older and unable to compete at the same level at his present age. True he has retired but this is just an example that will apply to other athletes who are above 35 years old,” noted Subramanium.

“Many elite athletes looked forward to representing their country at this Games and it will have a big impact on these athletes. Most of the other big events will happen during the year and their focus will also shift.”

Meanwhile, Asanga Seneviratne who heads the High Performance Unit at the NOC said that all training has come to a halt as no one can get about due to curfew and the threat of the coronovirus.

He expressed his fears and concerns even before the postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo was announced.

After Canada, Australia also threatened to skip the Games if it was to go ahead.

Although Sri Lanka has won a mere two medals in the history of the Olympic Games in 1948 (London) and 2000 (Sydney) the event is closely followed in the island like the football World Cup.