As many as 64 Indian athletes had already qualified for the upcoming Olympics prior to the coronavirus lockdown.
Indian athletes and coaches have responded warmly to the International Olympic Committee’s decision of postponing the Tokyo Olympics and to have it “rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021".
This is the fourth time in the 124-year-old history of the modern Olympics that the Games have been postponed. The previous three times were due to the first and the second World Wars, which only accentuates the gravity of the current situation.
With the number of coronavirus cases increasing every day across the world, thereby forcing countries into lockdowns, the decision was taken on March 24 after a joint IOC-Tokyo Organising Committee.
"Life always comes first, everything else can wait. Players' safety is paramount. Everyone who took this decision factored this in. I think it's good for everyone. Now I get more time to prepare, our training plans can be extended. And it's not just for me, it is true for everyone around the world," 2012 Olympics bronze-medallist MC Mary Kom, who had already secured her berth for the upcoming Olympics, told the Press Trust of India.
"In a hard time like this, where the coronavirus pandemic has touched almost every corner of the world, also in Tokyo, full credit to the Olympic committee for postponing the Games to 2021. It’s a very tough decision to be made because millions and millions of sporting commerce go into the Olympics. Given the effort the Olympic movement takes to run the Games, it was a hard decision. I thank the IOC, the Japan Olympic Committee and all people concerned, including the Indian Olympic Association, for making sure that all the athletes and sports lovers are looked after in tough times like these," 46-year-old Leander Paes, who won a silver medal at the 1996 Olympics, told the Sportstar.
"I'm the happiest person in the world now that the Olympics has been postponed for one year. No one should feel down and out. The decision to organize it for one year is an apt decision… I congratulate all who took the decision to postpone even though it might be painful. Of course, the Olympics is big but human lives are bigger. I thank all for the decision once again," former Indian athlete PT Usha told the Times of India.
“By postponing the Tokyo Games, International Olympic Committee, the organisers and Japanese government have done a commendable job otherwise the charm of the Olympics would have been lost. By the decision I'm sure it (the charm) has been saved," 2002 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Anju Bobby George told TOI.
“This is an important announcement keeping the public interest in mind. It was necessary to ensure public safety, as well. All the countries will be able to participate in full health, next year," Abhishek Verma told the Sportstar.
“Human health is the priority. I am sure a lot of thinking has gone behind the decisions that have been taken. Please follow the WHO and government guidelines and stay at home,” Indian shooter Manu Bhaker told Sportstar.
"I'm glad the decision has been made. It was only a matter of time as health and safety is always the most important thing, and it’s better to err on the side of caution. Hopefully, when we do compete, we can think of performing at the highest level and not worry about COVID-19. I will keep preparing at home and working hard," Indian golfer Aditi Ashok told the Golf Channel.