Palpable danger - GulfToday

Palpable danger


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Almost all tournaments have either been postponed or cancelled. There is no other way to guarantee the health of the sportspersons, besides these measures, with the virus on the loose. But it is rather surprising that Olympics has been kept out of the ring, and as of now, the games are likely to be held as scheduled (“IOC says no ‘ideal’ solution for Olympics as athletes voice concerns,” Mar.19, Gulf Today).

We do understand that Olympic sits top of this year’s sporting calendar and considering that hundreds of athletes had to wait in eager anticipation of the Games, which are held once every four years, the decision on whether to postpone or call if off completely, is not an easy one.

But I will go with the top athletes, who aver that the Olympic committee is forcing them to take health risks by insisting on the games be held between July 24-Aug.9 Games, despite the fatal COVID-19 outbreak.

Stefanidi, one of Greece’s most prominent athletes, who was scheduled to hand the ceremonial flame to Japanese officials before it was scrapped over COVID-19 made a valid objection on the hosting of the Games, which I feel should be taken seriously by the committee

“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,” was her tweet.

She couldn’t have been more precise. In fact, the risk in more than evident, as cancellation or postponement of multiple Olympic qualifying tournaments means that only 57 per cent of the athletes have booked their place for the final so far.

The hard reality was further summed aptly by Hayley Wickenheiser, the winner of four ice hockey gold medals and a Canadian IOC member: “this crisis is bigger than even the Olympics”. Of course it is. I hope better sense prevails. I too want the Olympic Games to happen, but not under these circumstances.

Ralph R—By email

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