Coronavirus: ‘Gutted’ McKinna understands decision to postpone 2020 Tokyo Olympics
PUBLISHED: 13:56 24 March 2020 | UPDATED: 15:12 24 March 2020
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Great Yarmouth athlete Sophie McKinna is “gutted” the Olympic and Paralympic Games have been postponed until 2021 but believes the right call has been made.
Many athletes have been calling for the postponement of the Tokyo Games due to the coronavirus pandemic and the International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 organising committee finally relented on Tuesday, proposing the event now takes place no later than the summer of 2021.
Shot putter McKinna, who was all but guaranteed a place on the Team GB squad, believes the right call has been made despite years of hard work now being put on hold.
“I’ve worked for 12 years to get to an Olympics so it’s upsetting and frustrating for them not to happen this year,” she said. “But the safety of people has got to come first. I’m gutted but bringing 11,000 athletes as well as countless supporters to one city is not the best thing to do in the current circumstances.
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“As athletes we understand that postponing (the Games) is the right thing to do.”
McKinna, who made the World Athletics Championships shot put final last year, finishing 11th, has set up her own home gym to continue training throughout the pandemic.
“I don’t think a lot will change for me in terms of training,” she said. “I don’t think there is going to be any athletics this year as it is.
“I will keep training the same way that I have and I just want to be ready for next year. I will just keep training and won’t taper down as I would have for the Olympics.”
The joint statement from the organisers said: “In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO (World Health Organisation) today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community. The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present.
“Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.”