Bogotá – Leaders and athletes in America described the decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to postpone the Tokyo Olympics as a “responsible and sensible” decision on Tuesday, March 24. Now taking place in 2021, the competition was postponed due to the pandemic of COVID-19 and was supposed to be held from July 24 to August 9.
Undoubtedly, the pressure exerted on Monday by the United States, which called for the suspension of the event, and Canada and Australia, which announced not to send their athletes if the officially scheduled dates were maintained, influenced the decision made by the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, and the President of the IOC, German Thomas Bach.
Bach explained that despite the fact that the IOC had given itself just two days ago a period of four weeks to rethink the date of the Games, the rapid increase in cases of coronavirus on the planet precipitated the decision, taken together with the Japanese authorities.
The Executive Committee of Panam Sports declared on Tuesday its “unrestricted” support for the IOC and agreed that the priority will always be the health and well-being of athletes.
“We are aware of the serious problems that the coronavirus is generating for athletes and that has not allowed them to train normally. This affects both those who were still looking to qualify, as well as those who already had their place and who dreamed of representing to your country with good preparation, “said the entity’s note.
The Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB) viewed the postponement of the jousts with “relief” and said that the world should now focus efforts on the fight against COVID-19.
“We have always been confident that President Bach would be able to calmly and confidently lead the Olympic Movement at this historic moment. The Olympic community in Brazil is very pleased with the decision,” COB President Paulo Wanderley Teixeira said in a release.
The president of the Uruguayan Olympic Committee (COU) and the International Swimming Federation (FINA), Julio César Maglione, assured EFE that he “fully agrees” with the decision.
“We totally agree. We have followed the lines of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and we will follow the lines of our leader, President Thomas Bach,” he stressed.
The president of the Colombian Olympic Committee (COC), Baltazar Medina, described the IOC decision as “responsible”.
“There are no guarantees to play games while guaranteeing the health of the athletes. I think it is an unfortunate decision because a great party is postponed, but it is a responsible decision,” Medina told Caracol Radio station.
The Peruvian Olympic Committee (COP) and several of its athletes also supported the news. “It is a healthy measure because the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on the world population and overcoming this pandemic is, today, the great priority of all countries,” said COP President Pedro Del Rosario.
The long-distance runner Inés Melchor, the fastest South American woman of all time in the marathon, considered that the postponement of the Games is a “correct” decision because, like many other athletes, she had not yet achieved the minimum mark for the Olympic event.
“We did not have the possibility to compete to make the mark, since all the events were postponed or canceled,” she said.
For his part, the vice president of the Ecuadorian Olympic Committee (COE), John Zambrano, affected by the coronavirus, said that the Games come after the health of humanity.
“Many people considered that the Games are more important than humanity, and that is wrong,” Zambrano told EFE in a telephone conversation from a hospital in Guayaquil, where he was admitted on Monday for having contracted COVID-19.
The president of the Puerto Rico Olympic Committee (COPUR), Sara Rosario, told EFE that the IOC’s decision is “sensible and prudent.”
The president of the Chilean Olympic Committee (COCH), Miguel Ángel Mujica, assured EFE that the postponement had already been proposed to the IOC a few days ago and therefore the decision considers it “very sensible and prudent”.
The sailor Enrique Arathoon, the only athlete from El Salvador to qualify for the Tokyo Games, asked for optimism and through a message released by the El Salvador Olympic Committee (COES), stated that “this is an opportunity to arrive better prepared.”
Ana Guevara, director of the National Commission of Physical Culture and Sport of Mexico, affirmed that the most important thing is always health. “We will do what is necessary to keep the Mexican team in physical and psychological condition,” added Guevara, who was also the 2004 Olympic Athletics runner-up in Athens.
The president of the Dominican Olympic Committee (Colimdo), Luis Mejía, stressed that the priority must be “everyone’s health.” What we need to prepare for now is “to continue quarantining, not to forget that the priority is to stay at home. “
The head of the Cuban Olympic Committee (COC), Roberto León, on his Twitter reiterated “the support for the athletic family, confident that we will win.”
Puerto Rican tennis player Mónica Puig, Olympic champion in Rio 2016, said on her Instagram account that she is “truly happy with the decision” and attached a photo of the day she won the gold medal and became the first Puerto Rican to obtain a golden medal.
Brazilian surfer Gabriel Medina, a two-time world champion and one of the favorites for gold in the debut of surfing in the Olympics, said that the postponement was “correct”.
Colombian Mariana Pajon, two-time BMX Olympic champion, described as the right decision to postpone the Games, which she considers “passed into the background” in the face of the pandemic and everything it is generating in the world.
“They ask me a lot what I think, simply, of postponing an Olympic Games and I think that goes into the background when we see suffering, death, disease, economic problems; that causes a lot of things and the Olympic Games, sport, our passion , they go into the background, “Pajon said in a video.
Her compatriot, boxer Ingrit Valencia, Olympic bronze in the 51 kilograms in Rio 2016, told EFE that “it was the best thing that could have happened” because the health of all athletes was “at stake.”
The Costa Rican athlete Andrea Vargas, Pan-American champion of the 100 meters with hurdles, stated on her Instagram that it was not “a time for the Games.”
The Brazilian record holder Daniel Dias, the world’s largest medalist in the history of men’s swimming in the Paralympic Games, with 24 medals, stated on his Twitter account that the postponement was a “sensible” decision and now he will go “calmer” to Tokyo 2021 .
Likewise, the president of the Bolivian Olympic Committee (COB), Marco Arze, considered that the decision of the IOC was “correct and prudent”.
For their part, Panamanian leader’s see the postponement of the jousts until 2021 as an “opportunity” for athletes.
It was “clear that they were going to be postponed. This coronavirus has changed the world in less than 15 days,” the president of the Panama Olympic Committee (COP), Camilo Amado, told EFE.