Athletics Association calls on IOC to postpone Tokyo Games

(Reuters) - Over three-quarters of track and field athletes surveyed by the Athletics Association want the Tokyo Olympic Games postponed because their training has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Athletics - World Athletics Championships - Doha 2019 - Men's Triple Jump Final - Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, Qatar - September 29, 2019 Christian Taylor of the U.S. celebrates winning gold REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

Twice Olympic triple jump champion Christian Taylor, who is also the founder of the Athletics Association, said 78% of athletes want the July 24-Aug. 9 Games to be pushed back, while 22% believe it should be canceled altogether.

“The Olympics have to be put back by a minimum of a year,” Taylor wrote in a column for The Times on Tuesday.

“The IOC says it will wait for four weeks but that just increases uncertainty and means we stay stuck in limbo.”

More than 4,000 athletes participated in the survey here, with 87% saying their preparations for the Games had been adversely by due to the pandemic.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Japanese government announced a month-long consultation over other “scenarios” but sources told Reuters a final decision will be taken in the coming days.

The virus has now infected more than 377,000 people across 194 countries, according to a Reuters tally, and over 16,500 people have died.

Taylor, who won gold at the London 2012 Games and Rio 2016 Games, is one of many athletes unable to train due to government protocols on social distancing and facilities being closed.

“I’m not jumping at all. There is no sandpit for me, I have not put on jump spikes for two weeks,” said Taylor.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson