The International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s decision to postpone the Tokyo Olympics to 2021 could have a major impact on the optimum levels of athletes approaching the twilight of their careers.
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA), which welcomed the postponement, admitted that it would take into consideration how it could go about dealing with the issue when planning a revised training schedule.
“A one-year postponement might impact the career/qualification and plans of some athletes, which would be addressed in the coming months and all necessary support would also be extended by us,” IOA Secretary General, Rajeev Mehta said in a letter to the IOC and the organisers of the Tokyo Olympics, according to the Press Trust of India.
“I am holding discussions and there would be meetings scheduled with the Federations after the lockdown in India is over. Athletes’ safety is our utmost priority now. We would also be consulting with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in revising the preparation plans.”
Several athletes’ qualifying chances affected
With a stark increase in the number of cases of COVID-19 forcing the World Health Organization to declare it a pandemic, it brought a halt to all sporting events across the globe, including multiple ones which assured qualification for the Tokyo Olympics.
Badminton, table tennis, weightlifting, shooting, archery were just some of the sports in which Indian athletes, hopeful of making a bid for a slot at the Tokyo Olympics, missed out on.
Though the likes of PV Sindhu, B Sai Praneeth, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, Achanta Sharath Kamal and Mirabai Chanu were ranked well enough in their respective sports for a spot at the Tokyo Olympics, they had not yet been confirmed and a change in procedures could see their position affected.
As many as 70 Indian athletes were eligible to play at the Tokyo Olympics and the main aim of the IOA will be to swell that number beyond 117, the contingent which was sent to Rio 2016.