Athletics coach calls for postponement of Olympics

Wednesday March 18 2020

Renowned athletics coach Renato Canova has indicated that holding the Tokyo Olympics as scheduled this year will be denying athletes equal and competitive opportunities.

At the same time, Canova took issue with the International Olympic Committee and Japan for making broadcasting and media as their priority, Saying that there can be no Olympics without athletes.

Canova said, in three days, Kenya could prohibit athletes to run in groups so as to curtail the spread of the Coronavirus, hence the Tokyo Olympics must be postponed.

The Tokyo Summer games are programed to run from July 24 to August 9.

"The Japanese Prime minister says that Olympics can follow the original plan. Personally, I don't see how Olympics can start at the end of July,” said Renato, charging that it seemed the main problem to solve is to have Japan "safe" so that athletes and spectators can go there without fearing infection the Coronavirus.

“But they forget the most important factor: Olympics is the biggest complexed event of sport, the main actors are the athletes, and it's not possible to have Olympics with athletes who didn't have the opportunity to develop a proper type of training,” said Renato in a statement.


Canova said the Olympics won’t follow the original plan and if lucky, it can start at the beginning of October. “Otherwise the only option is to move in 2021 or 2022, when we hope everything is over,” said Canova.

In Italy, at the moment, Canova started that there is the prohibition to do every kind of training in group, and football clubs had to stop every type of training.

For athletics, Canova said all the tracks are closed and there is no way to train for any event technical, or connected with running.

Canova said there have been cancellations of the competitions in every discipline around the world with Diamond League that was to start in Doha in April 17 being postponed and the Qatar government closing the flights to people coming from several countries.

“I don't see how it can be possible to organise a meeting of DL when top athletes from 80 percent of the countries are not allowed to fly. So, the reality is that the athletes can't compete at all until the month of May,” noted Canova, who doubts the virus being fully contained in May, owing to the growing number and new patients in Italy, that was the first European country to impose strict rules.

For all these reasons, Canova said it's clear the peak can't arrive before end of May in the most part of countries. “I want only to say that, every solution we can adopt, we can't solve the problem in short time,” Canova noted.

Canova has coached 2009 and 2011 World marathon champion Abel Kirui, 2017 World marathon champion Geoffrey Kirui, Moses Mosop, Florence Kiplagat, Caleb Mwangangi, Thomas Longosiwa, Imane Megra, Sylvian Kibet and Olympic gold medalists Gelindo Bordin (1988) and Stefano Baldini (2004).