Olympic gold and silver medallist Callum Skinner accused the International Olympic Committee (IOC) of delivering a “dangerous message” by not taking the coronavirus outbreak situation seriously, in Didsbury on Monday.
Skinner urged the IOC president Thomas Bach to “understand the challenges that athletes are facing,” amid the coronavirus outbreak ahead of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games starting in July, which Bach insists will go ahead.
“Were calling for the games to be postponed just to give clarity to athletes,” Skinner stated. “I think at the moment they are finding it a little bit tricky to focus as much as they can on the Olympic games,” he added.
Skinner expressed that, “it could be irresponsible” to advise the athletes to carry on training regardless of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak measures, which have seen major world economies follow strict lockdown measures.
“You’re looking at athletes possibly putting themselves in situations which could compromise their health in order to get the best training possible. You can’t prepare for the Olympic Games in your living room,” he said.
Bach participated in a call with 220 athletes’ representatives ahead of the 2020 Summer Olympics on March 19, where he reiterated the IOC’s willingness to hold the Games in Tokyo despite COVID-19 concerns.
Canada has announced its refusal to send athletes, as countries including Australia have warned their athletes that the Games will be postponed to 2021.