By Neto Baptiste
The Antigua and Barbuda Athletics Association (ABAA) is yet to take a definite position on the staging of the 2020 Olympic Games originally scheduled for July in Japan, but has since been postponed until 2021.
President of the national association and former national athlete, Everton Cornelius, said the decision, if necessary, will involve all stakeholders.
“No we haven’t made a decision as yet, and that would basically come from closer collaboration with the National Olympic Committee, and I guess from there we will make our plans and make our determination as to where or not we will participate or not. There is also the involvement of our government where that is concerned because it is national representation you are looking at and if the government decides there will be some sort of threat if we participate in that game then it is also within the government’s interest to determine whether we participate or not,” he said.
The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) announced last week that it is willing to withdraw Jamaica’s athletes from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics if, in light of the evolving coronavirus pandemic, Japan was not able to guarantee their health and safety.
The Canadian Olympic Association, on Sunday, warned that it won’t send its athletes to the Tokyo Olympics unless they are postponed for a year. Australia and Great Britain also made similar threats.
Cornelius said the association has however not been in dialogue with the country’s overseas-based athletes.
“We have been having dialogue going forward since there has been this crisis, but no one has indicated to us, to date, that they are looking to come back home as yet. I guess some of them have relatives in the United States [of America] and they would probably move towards their relatives, but no one has really contacted the association asking for assistance or direction where that is concerned,” he said.
Veteran International Olympic Committee member, Dick Pound, told USA TODAY Sports on Monday afternoon that the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games are going to be postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Pound, a Canadian who has been one of the most influential members of the IOC for decades, said the games will likely be moved to 2021, with the details to be worked out in the next four weeks.