Neeraj Chopra. (File Photo: IANS). Image Source: IANS News

New Delhi, March 24 : Olympic bound athletes including star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra has hailed the decision to postpone Tokyo Olympics due to the outbreak of coronavirus, saying the environment wouldn't have been appropriate for the mega event to take place this year.

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Tuesday that he has reached an agreement with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to hold the Games in 2021.

The IOC and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee later said in a joint statement that the committee's president Thomas Bach and Abe agreed that the Games have to be "rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021." "I think this was a welcome decision for us athletes in the circumstances and not something that came as a surprise. While we were looking forward to Tokyo2020, the environment wouldn't have been appropriate for the event to be celebrated the way it should be," Neeraj said.

"I would say we should look at this positively as it would allow us a year more to plan and train for the Olympics, which is the biggest sporting event for many athletes.

"There will be some impact on preparations over the next few months till the situation is brought under control, but that is something that all athletes are facing equally.

"For now, I'm not thinking about the qualification; there are experts at the IOC and World Athletics who will take everything into consideration before making a decision. So I think it would be best at this point for us to all focus on overcoming this challenging situation with our health intact for now, and then work towards the Olympics next year depending on the eventual decision that is taken," he added.

Commonwealth Games gold medallist boxer Vikas Krishan added that at the end of the day, humanity comes first.

"At the end of the day, humanity has to trump sport, so I'm happy that the decision was made to postpone the Olympics amidst the coronavirus situation. Obviously, the postponement will affect our preparation, but I think the extra time can help me prepare even better for my goal to win an Olympic Gold for India.I think it is important for all athletes to keep their focus and motivation and use this time to do whatever we can in terms of diet, nutrition and training so that hopefully, when the Olympics comes by next year, we will be in an even better condition to win medals for the country," he said.

Star wrestler Bajrang Punia echoed the sentiments, saying it will give them more time to prepare and they need to stay injury free during this period.

"This is a good decision. We need to care about all first and health comes first. We will get more time now to prepare and we need to stay injury free," he said.

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