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India to Wait for At Least a Month Before Any Decision on Olympic Participation: IOA after Canada Pullout Due to Coronavirus

Indian Olympic Association (Photo Credit: Twitter)

Indian Olympic Association (Photo Credit: Twitter)

Indian Olympic Association said that they will decide on 2020 Tokyo Olympics participation after at least a month as coronavirus pandemic forces nations around the world to reconsider.

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The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Monday said that they will take at least one month to decide on participating in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, as nations around the world express concerns with the coronavirus pandemic wrecking havoc.

IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta, while talking to PTI, said the body is closely monitoring the fast-evolving situation triggered by the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 14,000 and infected over 300,000.

"We will wait and watch for 4 to 5 weeks and then come to any decision after consultation with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the sports ministry," Mehta said.

"The situation is not that bad in our country as compared to other nations," he added.

The total number of COVID-19 cases in India has crossed 350, including seven deaths at the time of writing this.

This comes after Canada decided that they will not send their athletes to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement, the Canadian Olympic Committee announced on Sunday night it will not send teams to Tokyo unless the Games, which are scheduled to be held from July 24 to August 9, are postponed by a year.

"The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC), backed by their Athletes' Commissions, National Sports Organizations and the Government of Canada, have made the difficult decision to not send Canadian teams to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in the summer of 2020," the statement read.

"The COC and CPC urgently call on the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to postpone the games for one year. We offer them our full support in helping navigate all the complexities that rescheduling the Games will bring."

Earlier fter an emergency meeting, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said that postponing the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is one option amid the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, although it added that cancelling the Games altogether is "not on the agenda."

Strong pressure has been brought to bear on the IOC by numerous athletic organizations, sporting federations and athletes around the world to postpone the Games -- scheduled from July 24 to August 9.

The World Health Organization announced Sunday that, according to its latest figures, a total of 294,110 cases of COVID-19 have been detected worldwide, and 12,944 people have died.

IOC president Thomas Bach said that a decision on when to hold the Games would be made "within the next four weeks"

Elsewhere, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told the Parliament on Monday that the Tokyo Olympic Games could be postponed due to the global spread of coronavirus.

It is the first time for the Prime Minister to announce that the Games, which currently was scheduled on July 24, might be put off under mounting pressure from sports organisations around the world.

"If it is difficult to hold the games in such a way, we have to decide to postpone it, giving top priority to (the health of the) athletes," Abe said.

But Abe stressed that the Games will by no means be cancelled. "Cancellation is not an option," Abe said.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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