Home Sport Sascoc won’t be rushing their Olympic decision

Sascoc won’t be rushing their Olympic decision

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“We are waiting on them before we make any kind of decision or announcement on our stance as Sascoc.”

WHILE they intend on “protecting our athletes as best as possible”, South Africa’s Olympic governing body, Sascoc, are not about to rush into a decision about their participation at the Tokyo Olympics.

Already, Australia and Canada have announced that they will not be participating in the Games should they continue as scheduled this year.

But the interim Sascoc president Barry Hendricks said yesterday that they will take their cue from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) with whom they have had discussions already.

“We had a meeting with the IOC last week and they have advised us that they will make a decision on the Tokyo Olympics soon.

“We are waiting on them before we make any kind of decision or announcement on our stance as Sascoc.”

Under pressure

With the coronavirus pandemic seemingly gathering speed in some parts of the world, the IOC and the Japanese government find themselves under pressure to call off the games scheduled for late July and early August and postpone them until next year.

The two parties yesterday slightly shifted their standpoint that the Games would start as scheduled on July 24 as they announced that there would be a month-long consultation over the scenarios.

According to a Reuters report, Australia and Canada said they would not be sending athletes to Tokyo if the Games went ahead as scheduled.

Canada’s Olympic Committee (COC) and Paralympic Committee (CPC) released a statement saying that while they recognised the complexities of a postponement, “nothing is more important than the health and safety of our athletes and the world community”.

Martin Richard, communications chief for the CPC, said the Canadians had been hoping for a decision on Sunday and decided to withdraw when none came.

“The world is facing a crisis and this is more important than any other sport event,” he said from Ottawa.

Richard said for Paralympic athletes, some of whom had underlying conditions, it would be risky to expose them if the virus was not contained.

“We felt it was unethical to have them be put in that position,” he said, adding that Canada had not been alone in applying pressure on the IOC to postpone.

More than 14 600 individuals have died globally since the coronavirus pandemic began and containment measures have severely hampered the ability of some athletes to prepare for the Games.

Soon after the Canadian statement, the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) said it had told its athletes to prepare for a Tokyo Games taking place in 2021.

“The AOC (Executive Board) unanimously agreed that an Australian team could not be assembled in the changing circumstances at home and abroad,” read the statement.

“The AOC believes our athletes now need to prioritise their own health and of those around them, and to be able to return to the families, in discussion with their national federations.”

Hendricks said he was aware of the decisions by the two countries but that they would not be swayed or moved by the actions of others.

“I’ve heard about Australia and Canada.

“Of course we want to protect our athletes as best as we possibly can. We are not going to place any of them in any danger. We believe though that the IOC will take the best decision with regards to the Games.”

Hendricks explained that they will take direction from the local government just as they have done with regards to their elections.

“You would have seen that we have postponed our elections in order to fall in line with the President’s directive that there should be no gatherings of more than a 100 people. Even with the Olympics, while we are waiting to hear from the IOC, we will also follow what the government prescribes. We are waiting to hear on the latest directive from the president later today.”