Pullela Gopichand: Better if Tokyo Olympics get postponed

Updated: Mar 20, 2020, 08:24 IST | PTI | New Delhi

India's chief badminton coach P Gopichand urges IOC not to insist on Tokyo Games amidst Coronavirus issue

PV Sindhu
PV Sindhu

India's chief badminton coach Pullela Gopichand believes the Tokyo Olympics should be postponed given the unprecedented crisis that the world is facing due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The call to defer the Olympics, scheduled to be held in Tokyo from July 24 to August 9, is growing after most of the major sporting events were either cancelled or postponed due to the deadly outbreak, which has killed over 8000 people and infected more than 2,00,000 globally. The International Olympic Committee (IOC), however, said on Wednesday it expects the Games to begin on time.

"I have my doubts about the Olympics. It is not like it is far away. The preparation has to start now. So, the IOC has to take a call now for everyone to relax," Gopichand told PTI. "I think, in the present scenario, with the health scares and all the travel restrictions, it is a tough time and at the moment the whole world is thinking about health and safety for its citizens, so I think given the situation it is better if the Olympics are postponed," he added.

The Badminton World Federation was severely criticised for conducting the All-England Championship earlier this month, despite the rapid spread of the deadly disease.

International players, including London Olympics bronze-medallist Saina Nehwal, slammed BWF saying players' safety was compromised for financial gains and Gopichand also didn't mince any words.

Pullela GopichandPullela Gopichand

"Definitely, I think it was a wrong decision on BWF's part to put the players at risk by hosting the All England," said Gopichand, who is currently in self-isolation after returning from Birmingham. After being condemned by the players, the BWF suspended all tournaments till April 12.

There have been calls to extend the Olympic qualification period, which ends on April 28, following the postponement of a number of Olympic qualifiers. Gopichand, however, feels there are no easy answers. "What is happening is unprecedented, so I think any decisions will have its merits and demerits. I think whatever is equal and fair for everybody should be done. We can't satisfy everybody and hopefully it is equal for most people," said the 2001 All England Champion.

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