Wed | May 27, 2020

Laurie Foster | 2021 a logistical nightmare for elite sports

Published:Wednesday | April 1, 2020 | 12:18 AM
A man takes pictures of a countdown display for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in Japan yesterday. The countdown clock is ticking again for the Tokyo Olympics now set for July 23 to August 8, 2021. The clock says 479 days to go.
A man takes pictures of a countdown display for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in Japan yesterday. The countdown clock is ticking again for the Tokyo Olympics now set for July 23 to August 8, 2021. The clock says 479 days to go.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues its relentless and frightening assault on humanity, ardent lovers of sports throughout the world had been asking for a decision on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Many voices were heard saying that the announcement was too long in coming. Who can successfully bore holes in that argument? It appeared as clear as daylight that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had no other option but to cancel the dates as scheduled.

Now that the verdict has been reached to move the spectacle to 2021, it opens up a series of other matters to be considered. What could be the most crucial to be answered is how what is referred to as the greatest show of them all fits into an already packed sporting calendar for 2021? This is so, since the decision ruled out a cancellation or a new set of dates which did not fall within the summer of next year.

The summer of 2021 will have previously scheduled world championships of other sports, an example being athletics. European football has its most prestigious competition, EURO 2020, which was also postponed from this year. One can only imagine the logistical nightmare which is likely to be added to earlier planning, as that would have taken place without the postponing of the Olympics being a factor. Already, the world governing body of athletics is pondering the prospects of having their flagship event in 2022 where it would clash with the Commonwealth Games. That would present another major hurdle as being an event held every two years, the 2023 edition of the track and field event is already in place.

Regardless of how one looks at it, this ill-timed appearance of the coronavirus has caused considerable upheaval in the scheduling of elite-level sporting events. The administrators should not at this time allow this tenuous situation to stand in the way of sound judgement. One hopes that they will be aware of the importance that their separate events have impacted on the lives of those who watch them from close quarters or from afar. The painful withdrawal symptoms can be heard on the nation’s call-in programmes, with their hosts finding it difficult to soothe the wounds of their guests.

Having done that, those who have the authority to make the final calls should move with alacrity to sort out all the in-built problems which have been brought about by a disease which has thrown the world into chaos.

In all of this, the athletes who are affected negatively should receive due consideration. Spare a thought for those who have said that they plan to end their careers after Tokyo 2020. These might have been merely hanging on to the thought that it will be their final hurrah before exiting the scene. After a certain period of time in life, they should be feeling the grind of years of training and other preparation for what comes after. It is hoped that at the end of the day, even though the dates have been pushed back by a year, they are able to reflect on an excellent body of work to escort them into retirement.

Foster’s Fairplay wishes them well.

For feedback: email: lauriefoster2012@gmail.com