March 17, 2020 / 11:58 PM / 10 days ago

Jamaica Olympic boss says athletes' health must be top concern

KINGSTON (Reuters) - Jamaica’s Olympic Association president said on Tuesday he hoped the Tokyo Games would take place on schedule but the safety and health of athletes must be the main consideration as the coronavirus impacts the world.

“Once there is, in reality, the management of the virus to the extent that it does not pose a risk to the Games going on, certainly the Jamaican position is that we must prepare for the Games and we must support all efforts for it to go on,” Christopher Samuda said in a telephone interview with Reuters.

Samuda added he supported the current approach by the International Olympic Committee, (IOC) which announced on Tuesday that athletes should continue preparation for the 2020 Olympics.

“The IOC remains fully committed to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and with more than four months to go before the Games there is no need for any drastic decisions at this stage,” it said in a statement.

Samuda added, “The Olympic Games is a huge economic investment, not only on financial terms but certainly it is an investment in relation to our athletes.”

“We should await that day where we will be in a better position and take a far more informed decision as to whether the games go on.”

His comments come days after Jamaica Sports Minister Olivia Grange advised senior athletes against traveling to compete in countries affected by the virus.

Warren Blake, president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), said the federation continued to monitor the situation and had made no decision on Olympic trials for the nation which has dominated sprint events at recent Games

The trials are currently scheduled for June 25-28.

Editing by Gene Cherry

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