2020 Tokyo Olympics postponement has taken athletes out of 'mental' turmoil', says World Athletics president Lord Coe

Matt Davies
AFP via Getty Images

World Athletics president Lord Coe has stressed the decision to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games has taken the athletes out of "mental turmoil".

The Games - due to start on July 24 - was officially postponed on March 24, a decision Coe supported.

The outbreak of coronavirus has forced the majority of the sporting calendar into suspension and - although officials repeatedly stated their plan to go ahead as scheduled - a decision was eventually made with pressure mounting.

The British Olympic Association had previously warned they wouldn't be sending a team to Tokyo even if the Games were to go ahead.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic committees announced they would not be competing, while Australian athletes were told to prepare for 2021.

Photo: PA

Organisers now face the task of finding a suitable time for the competition to take place next year, summer the current preference.

A number of athletes - British swimmer Adam Peaty included - have spoken of their relief having heard the news of a suspension, a sentiment Lord Coe agrees with.

Speaking to TalkSport, Coe said: "We didn't want to have the athletes in a position where they were countering government advice, maybe even breaking the law.

"And of course in the back of their minds was always that concern, it wasn't just their own training programme, but that they ran the risk of effectively infecting themselves, their families, their kids, grandparents or parents, and we just wanted to take them out of that mental turmoil as quickly as we possibly could.

"We're no different from everyone else out there but I think we just concluded that sport, on this occasion, had to take a back seat."

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