By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
AMIDST concerns about the coronavirus, the Bahamas Olympic Committee has announced that they will continue their preparation for Team Bahamas to compete in the 2020 Olympic Games, scheduled for July 24 to August 9 in Tokyo, Japan.
“Whilst a senior member of the IOC spoke to the press recently about the virus, we have not received an official position from the IOC, please be guided accordingly,” said Rommel Knowles, president of the BOC.
“In this regard, we will continue to plan for the games in its usual manner.”
On Tuesday, Dick Pound, a former Canadian swimming champion who has been on the IOC since 2978, making him the longest serving member, estimated there is a three-month window - perhaps a two-month one - to decide the fate of the Tokyo Olympics, meaning a decision could be out off until late May.
“In and around that time, I’d say folks are going to have to ask: ‘Is this under sufficient control that we can be confident about going to Tokyo or not?’” Pound told the Associated Press in an exclusive interview.
With the games five months away, Pound said a of things have to start happening, including ramping up security, food, the Olympic Village, the hotels and the media. Pound said if the IOC decides the games cannot go forward as scheduled in Tokyo they will have to look at a cancellation.
The concern for the status of the games came into question two months ago in Chin after more than 80,000 people globally were affected by the Coronavirus, which has already killed over 2,700 people, the vast majority of them in China.
The virus has also hit South Korea, the Middle East and Europe, raising fears off pandemic. Japan has also reported four deaths as a result of the virus.
Knowles, however, said the BOC will continue to monitor the events and will keep the public abreast of all of their developments.
“You should be aware the welfare of our team will not be compromised,” Knowles said. “We trust the deliberate course of actions the IOC is taking, they have our full confidence along with the relevant International Sporting Federations.”
Knowles assured the public that they will continue to monitor advisory from the World Health Organization and in the fullness of time, an official announcement will be made on the Olympic Games, which are held every four years.
“I wish to encourage our athletes to continue their training and preparation for the games and for our National Federations to give them their full support,” Knowles summed up.
The Tokyo Organizing Committee released the following information as it pertains to the Olympic Games:
- The preparations for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 are continuing as planned. Countermeasures against infectious diseases constitute an important part of Tokyo 2020’s plans to host safe and secure Games. Tokyo 2020 will continue to collaborate with all the relevant organizations that are carefully monitoring any incidence of infectious diseases, and will review any countermeasures that may be necessary with all the organizations concerned. In addition, the IOC is in contact with the World Health Organization as well as its own medical experts. We have full confidence that the relevant authorities, in particular in Japan and China, will take all the necessary measures to address the situation.
Tokyo 2020 is working in cooperation with the National and International Federations ahead of test events and is following guidance from the Japanese authorities.
The Torch Relay is expected to take place as planned. The situation is being monitored carefully and Tokyo 2020 is collaborating closely with the regional prefectures to assess the local context.
The IOC is working with the International Federations and the relevant NOCs concerning the participation of their athletes in qualifying events for the Olympic Games.