Sports

Mixed reaction from athletes as Olympics are moved to 2021

Athletes worldwide expressed a mixture of sadness and relief, after it was confirmed last night that the Olympics will be postponed to next year.

After weeks of worrying and struggling to train as the world headed into virtual lockdown from the coronavirus pandemic, there was at least some clarity of the road ahead.

They endorsed the delay, given that many of them had their training and competitions disrupted as gyms, stadia and swimming pools were shut down around the world.

"To be honest, I'm left reeling and feeling a little lost. But the goal posts haven't disappeared - just shifted," said Australia's two-time Olympic champion swimmer, Cate Campbell.

"It's time to recalibrate and fire up for the next challenge."

The delayed Games, which must be held by summer of 2021, will still be known as Tokyo 2020, but several athletes referred to it as Tokyo 2021.

British sprint star Dina Asher-Smith, the world 200m champion, said she has switched her focus to "Tokyo 2021".

On Monday, she had tweeted that she was frustrated by the International Olympic Committee (IOC)'s proposed four-week window before a decision was made.

After last night's announcement, she posted on Instagram: "#Tokyo2021, Same fire, new dates. Stay at home and stay safe everyone xxx."

Double Olympic triathlon champion Alistair Brownlee tweeted: "Evidently a very tough decision for the IOC and other stakeholders to make, but in my opinion the right one.

"Both, for the message it sends to people around the world battling with the virus and to give clarity to athletes attempting to prepare."

Retired British track cyclist Callum Skinner, who fronts competitor-led movement Global Athlete, said the right decision had been made.

"Tokyo 2021 presents an amazing opportunity to host a full Games celebrating the world (hopefully) entering the 'post-pandemic' phase," he tweeted.

British Rowing welcomed the "certainty" over the Games.

"We are now able to start planning how we best support our athletes, coaches and all our programme staff throughout this time," it tweeted.

Other athletes were focusing on the battle in another arena - the medical field.

American Olympic BMX champion Connor Fields said: "I compete in a little bike race, which is nothing compared to what is going on in the world right now.

"No sport is more important if it means more people might potentially die from this." - AFP, REUTERS

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