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Malaysian diver Leong Mun Yee. © Facebook

Olympic Games News

Asian athletes and officials post post-postponement feelings

Date : 25 Mar 2020

Kuwait City, Kuwait, March 25, 2020: Asian athletes and sports officials have taken to social media to post their feelings on the postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

The International Olympic Committee, in association with the Japanese government, announced the decision on March 24 to put the Games back to next year – summer 2021 at the latest – due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

*India’s six-time world boxing champion and London 2012 bronze medal-winner Mary Kom had qualified for her second Olympic Games at the Asia/Oceania Boxing Qualification Tournament in Amman, Jordan earlier this month. She will be 38 when she appears at her second Olympics.

Mary Kom commented: “Excellent and right decision” while sharing the Olympic Channel news of the postponement on her Twitter account.

*India's badminton bronze medallist from London 2012, Saina Nehwal, was in full agreement with the decision.

“It’s a good decision by IOC - for all the athletes who have qualified and for all the athletes who haven’t and are still waiting to participate in the remaining qualifiers,” she said on Twitter.

“Considering the current situation all around the world, every athlete will be at peace now. Safety first.”

*The IOC Member from Thailand, Khunying Patama Leeswadtrakul, issued a statement on her Facebook account along with a photo of herself with IOC President Thomas Bach. Khunying Patama highlighted the point that the Games would still be referred to as the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.

*The Olympic Council of Malaysia also addressed the joint statement released by the IOC and Tokyo 2020 on March 24.

“The OCM fully supports the IOC’s decision to postpone the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 to a date no later than the summer of 2021. We will be considering the implications for our athletes over the coming days in consultation with the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the respective National Sports Association,” said Dato’ Sri Norza Zakaria, OCM President.

“We are glad that this decision is taken now, rather than later. Our major concern is the safety and well-being of the athletes and we empathise with those athletes who have qualified for Tokyo 2020. We are confident that the opportunity shall prevail itself for our athletes to still participate in the postponed Olympics.

“What is happening today is totally unprecedented. Hence, our priority as a sports community is to support our Government in its effort to eliminate the threats of COVID-19, with the well-being and safety of athletes being of utmost importance.

“We will continue to collaborate with the relevant international and local stakeholders to ensure our athletes’ interest are protected,” Norza concluded.

*Indonesia Youth and Sports Minister Zainudin Amali said Indonesia had pledged to fully support the decision.

“It was a wise and timely decision, given the current health crisis that would not allow us to move on with the sporting agenda. Everyone’s health should remain our top priority,” he told The Jakarta Post.

Regarding Indonesian athletes still trying to qualify for the next Olympic Games, he added: “Training will focus on maintaining their health and fitness. This will look different from the kind of training they used to have in order to compete. This was a force majeure situation; it’s beyond our control.”

*The Rio 2016 silver medallist and Asian Games 2018 weightlifting champion Hidilyn Diaz of the Philippines posted:

“I can’t deny the fact I am disappointed with the postponement of Tokyo 2020 and I left everything on hold in preparation for the Olympics. This includes school, family and friends but right now we are talking about the safety and health of all the athletes, their coaches and their teams that will be participating in the Olympics.

“I cannot be selfish thinking of all the sacrifices I have done in the preparation for the Olympics without thinking of the front-liners risking their lives to save people who are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“On the positive note, I’m kinda relieved not to worry that I can’t hold the barbell and do heavy weights for the last couple of days because of quarantine and have one more year to prepare for Olympics.

“One thing I know is that to me and #TeamHD, giving up was never in our vocabulary. We are almost there and we can make it through.”

*Malaysian diver Leong Mun Yee (pictured) said on Facebook: “It has been confirmed that the Olympics will be postponed. Based on the situation the whole world is facing right now, I think it is a right move as safety and health is the priority for everyone.

“Hopefully the situation in my country and everywhere else in the world will improve soon. No matter what, my goal will be the same and will continue to work hard towards it.”

*Japanese Olympic Committee President Yasuhiro Yamashita admitted the decision came quicker than he had expected and added: "I am soon turning 63 and there are so many unimaginable or unexpected things in life.”

He added that he would approach the challenge with “a fresh mind and not giving up. I want to go through this challenge heading into next year."

*Malaysian mixed doubles badminton player Goh Liu Ying said on Facebook: “It has been confirmed that the Tokyo Olympics 2020 will be postponed. No more competition up to June. I think it is the best way for the current situation.

“Although it is tough but we can go through it with belief. Olympic is still my target! Stay home, be safe.”

*Malaysia’s 2017 world champion platform diver Cheong Jun Hoong, who has still to qualify for Tokyo, posted: “Mixed feelings...#Tokyo2020. Olympics postponed, but I will still fight for it. Most importantly now, safety first people!!! Take it in a positive way. Together we are one.”

*The Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China issued the following statement:

“SF&OC fully understands the rationale behind this most difficult but appropriate decision and will fully support it. We strive to maintain a close dialogue with the two organisations to ascertain the detailed arrangement of the rescheduling and will coordinate with all stakeholders of the event (including athletes, coaches and National Sports Associations) to listen and reflect their concerns. We will implement all necessary health protection measures to ensure athletes’ health and facilitate their preparation and participation in the Games.”

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