The world’s biggest sporting event has been postponed for up to a year amid the coronavirus which has claimed thousands of lives across the globe
South Africa’s Olympic Team coach David Notoane has welcomed the IOC’s decision to postpone the 2020 Games which were supposed to take place in Tokyo, Japan in June.
According to Notoane, the postponement will give every national team that has qualified an equal opportunity to prepare well for the global showpiece.
“The IOC has finally given a directive and a position in relation to the postponement of the Olympic Games – Tokyo 2020 to next year before summer after taking a very guided and cautious approach in support of what is before us in terms of measures to try and curb [the spread] of the coronavirus,” Notoane told the Safa media.
“We welcome the decision of the IOC and Tokyo Olympic Organising Committee as well as the Minister of Sports in Japan, of course, in making a decision that benefits everyone. It can only be fair that everyone is given an equal opportunity to prepare for the Olympics.”
Notoane said while the IOC made the right decision due to the coronavirus pandemic that continues to claim thousands of lives across the world, he feels a bit disappointed because they were already hard at work in preparing for the event.
He added that South Africa is still hopeful the IOC will review the decision once the situation has improved.
“However, naturally, I am disappointed as we were really gearing up later in the year to intensify our preparation for the Olympic Games,” said Notoane.
“Of course, acknowledging that our preparation has been destabilised now with the postponement of our trip to Japan which would have taken place at this particular moment.
“However, the coronavirus is upon us. So, we still remain hopeful that after this pandemic has gone past us and the world is stabilised, there could possibly be a review of the decision to postpone [the games] to next year based on the timing of when the world is stabilised after this pandemic.”
“So, we are still keeping our eyes and minds open, hopeful that there could be a review of this decision,” continued the former Santos striker.
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Notoane further stated that the SA Olympic Team technical team will now look into reviewing and revising its programme for the preparations going forward, before expressing his delight that the team knows where it stands after weeks of speculation over the Olympic Games possibly getting postponed.
“We will then look into the programme of the preparations – review and revise it post this coronavirus pandemic,” he concluded.
“We are happy now that we know where we stand; that’s the most important decision and of course, we have to acknowledge that this decision, we support it because there’s more to life than sport.”