Badminton Desk

Gopichand Calls for 2020 Tokyo Olympic to be Postponed due to Covid-19

By: Editor
Date: 20 Mar, 2020
Image Courtesy: Badminton Desk

Chief Coach of the Indian Badminton Team Pullela Gopichand has called on the International Olympic Committee to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in view of the worldwide Covid-19 Pandemic, that has caused widespread cancellation of sports and worldwide disruption of normal life.

Gopichand cited the lack of training facilities, gyms and the prevailing lockdowns across the globe as grounds enough for the postponement.

“With several travel restrictions, ban on gatherings, gyms being closed, it’s a worldwide problem. Exposure tournaments, friendlies, players seeking qualification are all important as players look to peak. In an atmosphere when everything is uncertain, it will be unfair to hold the Games in July,” opined Gopichand who has trained Olympic medallists for India over the last two Olympics.

As per the schedule, should the Olympics go ahead players should be training & playing in tournaments as part of the preparation, which currently has been disrupted due to postponement of major tournaments, restrictions on travel and closure of training facilities. All of these adversely effects the preparation of the athletes, said the coach.

“They should be going for exposure tournaments and planning their schedule. It’s not that Olympics happen in July and people start training on June 20,” he said categorically.

Forecasting that the situation is expected to get any better any sooner, he requested the International Olympic Committee to consider the guidelines of the World Health Organization and consider postponing the games until situation normalizes.

“I don’t see things changing after two weeks as well. It is important we listen to WHO. I feel it is difficult to imagine Olympics being held in July,” he said.

However, should the IOC decide to go ahead with the games, Gopichand, said he will take his team to the games in his quest for a hattrick of medals at the summer games.

Asked about the possibility of opening the Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy anytime soon for the benefit of players such as Sai Praneeth& PV Sindhu who have already qualified for the Olympics, the chief coach said “As of now we are closed for two weeks (till March 31). If the embargo is for two weeks, it’s not a problem. But if it stretches further it would be difficult.”

Gopichand, who has self-quarantined himself following his return from Birmingham after the All England Open, also came out in support of SainaNehwal and Parupalli Kashyap’s critique of the world badminton body for their much delayed decision to suspend badminton tournaments in the wake of Covid-19.

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