Sunday, July 21, 2024

Field Hockey Canada won’t send athletes to Tokyo Olympics

With the men’s side having qualified, Field Hockey Canada has backed its own National Olympic Committee after an announcement on Sunday that it will not send athletes to the Tokyo Olympics – and followed the Australian Olympic Committee’s message to athletes to prepare for the Games being delayed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both nations are calling for the Games to be postponed, while there seem to be a few options on the table as far as the IOC is concerned, postponement until October, five months or for a year.
The increasing probability that the Games will not take place as scheduled for the first time in 80 years was put into perspective after the IOC earlier on Sunday said that it would make a decision on whether or not to postpone the games within the next four weeks.

In a letter to athletes, IOC president Thomas Bach wrote: “together with all the stakeholders, we have started detailed discussions today to complete our assessment of the rapid development of the worldwide health situation and its impact on the Olympic Games, including a scenario of postponement.”

However, the Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee said in a joint statement. “While we recognise the inherent complexities around a postponement, nothing is more important than the health and safety of our athletes and the world community. This is not solely about athlete health — it is about public health.”

“With COVID-19 and the associated risks, it is not safe for our athletes, and the health and safety of their families and broader Canadian community for athletes to continue training towards these games. In fact, it runs counter to the public health advice which we urge all Canadians to follow.”

Meanwhile, the Australian Olympics Committee said it “believes our athletes now need to prioritise their own health and of those around them, and to be able to return to their families, in discussion with their National Federations.”

The AOC said that travel restrictions could be in place for six months, and that would include Olympians.

British Olympic Association chairman Sir Hugh Robertson said that restrictions meant that the Tokyo Games wouldn’t see a level-playing field in the summer.

He said: “We welcome the IOC executive board decision to review the options in respect of a postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

“However, we urge rapid decision-making for the sake of athletes who still face significant uncertainty.

“Restrictions now in place have removed the ability of athletes to compete on a level playing field and it simply does not seem appropriate to continue on the present course towards the Olympic Games in the current environment.”

What Field Hockey Canada says…

The Canadian Olympic Committee’s decisive action reminds us of the critical role Canada has across the sporting world. Field Hockey Canada is proud to stand united with all Canadian sport. We recognize that we all have the power to drive positive change and as such, FHC has asked its athletes to be at the forefront of social adherence to the guidelines articulated by the World Health Organization and Canadian and Provincial Health Authorities. Follow their lead and stand down from activity – stay off fields and out of gyms. The health and safety of our athletes, our national field hockey community and our local communities in which we live is of utmost importance at all times.

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