Canberra, Feb 27 : Amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, retired Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe has urged the athletes to consider their long-term health before deciding to compete at the Tokyo Olympic Games slated to be played later in the year.
"I would most definitely be concerned," The Guardian quoted Thorpe as saying on Thursday. "What we need to know is to use some of the best expert disease specialists to find out what is the risk to the team. What is the risk to the other nations and how can we have an Olympic Games, one that is safe, that doesn't put athletes at risk? "What you have to understand as well is there are other risks associated with an Olympic Games, the threat of a terrorist event taking place... And we (athletes) take into consideration those things before we decide to compete. I think the decision should come down to each individual athlete. But whether or not they want to compete, that they should take their health into consideration first," he added.
Thorpe's comments come after International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Dick Pound said the world's health would be at stake unless the Games are cancelled or postponed.
However, Indian Olympic Association chief Narinder Batra, who is also a member of the IOC, is not willing to comment on the status of the Tokyo Games as he believes it's too soon and there's plenty of time left before the start of the quadrennial event.
A number of sporting events have been affected, with medical experts in Japan advising against staging large events. The Asian Boxing Qualifiers, which were slated to be held in Wuhan, China in March, were shifted to Jordan.
Training for Olympic volunteers was suspended over the weekend, and Sunday's Tokyo marathon has been closed to all but elite runners.
On Tuesday, Japan also suspended its football league, making it the latest sporting victim of the deadly coronavirus which has so far claimed thousands of lives across the world.
The Tokyo Olympic Games are scheduled to be held from July 24 to August 9.