The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has strongly refuted rumours which suggest the Tokyo Games could be canceled due to the threat of the coronavirus.

With approximately six months to go before the showpiece, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the Coronavirus a global health emergency.  The epicenter of the outbreak is the Chinese City of Wuhan where over 10,000 people have been infected.  The virus has also spread to 20 other countries, including Japan, where 17 people have been infected.

The Tokyo Olympic organisers have, however, insisted that having been in contact with the WHO and insisted they were “not considering” canceling the Olympics and Paralympics.  The IOC has revealed that various countermeasures were already being examined.

“Countermeasures against infectious diseases constitute an important part of Tokyo 2020’s plans to host a safe and secure Games,” the IOC said in a statement.

“Tokyo 2020 will continue to collaborate with all relevant organisations which carefully monitor any incidence of infectious diseases and will review any countermeasures.”

The outbreak has already affected other scheduled competitions, including the Olympic qualifying tournament in China.  Women’s football has been moved to Australia and basketball to Serbia.  The Asian-Oceania boxing qualifiers have been moved to Jordan.  The World Indoor Championships, which were to have been held in Nanjing in March, were postponed for a year.

 

Fedrick Dacres, the 2019 World Championships discus silver medallist and Olympic swimmer Julian Fletcher, are the two Caribbean athletes among 30 vying for four spots on the International Olympic Committee’s Athletes Commission.

The Jamaica Olympic Association has sought to clear up suggestions it neglected to pay full respsect to six Jamaican Olympians who collected upgraded silver medals during the Mueller Anniversary Games in London last week.

The six, who were having bronze medals from the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics upgraded, had voiced disappointment that there were no Jamaican officials to share what was a proud moment for them.

According to the JOA though, every effort was made to be present and the presence of the girls at the ceremony in London, had much to do with its efforts to ensure the event took place at a time convenient to the athletes.

“We didn’t have a representative from Jamaica, from the JOA, no one. I feel disappointed,” Novlene Williams-Mills had said after the occasion.

Williams-Mills, along with Shereefa Lloyd, Shericka Williams, Rosemarie Whyte-Robinson, and Bobby-Gaye Wilkins collected silver medals for the mile relay in 2008 while Christine Day, Lloyd, Whyte-Robinson, Williams and Williams-Mills, collected silver medals for 2012.

“For many years I represented Jamaica at the highest level. I have represented Jamaica at four Olympics at the highest level, World Championships at the highest level. I’ve made multiple Jamaica teams and for not one person from the JOA or in sports was able to make sure everything went smoothly and to ensure that we were taken care of was really disappointing.”

According to the the Olympic body, however, upon being informed of the medal ceremony, they entered into discussions with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) about scheduling a convenient date for all stakeholders.

Despite those efforts, however, the JOA was not able to send representatives because of prior commitments to the 2019 Pan America Games in Lima, Peru.

The challenge in being able to attend, the JOA said, was relayed to the athletes but that all preparations for a smooth medal ceremony, inclusive of accommodation and airtravel had been handled by the International Olympic Committee.

“They were advised to take into consideration the fact that the event being only three weeks away, there may be logistic challenges, particularly in view of firstly, the fact that persons including some Olympians and their allowed guests required visas and, secondly, the imminent games commitments and preparation requirements of the JOA which may very well preclude attendance,” the body said in a statement on Friday.

The body was also quick to point out that the view that the athletes were not seen as priority was erroneous, and that it would always seek to commend the athletes on their achievements.

 

With regard to the arrangements being made, the JOA said the Olympians were informed that the IOC would be responsible for flight arrangements to and from the event, as well as hotel accommodations and that the IOC would liaise with the IAAF regarding transportation and event logistics.

Trinidad and Tobago’s (T&T) 4x100 Olympic team are a step closer to collecting the gold medals they won at the 2008 Olympic Games after Jamaica, who won the event at the time, were disqualified courtesy of an adverse analytic finding to Nesta Carter, their first-leg runner. 

Trinidad and Tobago's 2008 men's 4x100m relay team have been officially awarded gold medals by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The team of Richard Thompson, Marc Burns, Keston Bledman, Emmanuel Callender and Aaron Armstrong were awarded the gold after the Jamaican relay team’s members, including Usain Bolt, were stripped of their medals when Nesta Carter was found guilty last year of using a banned substance.

The Trinidad and Tobago team had finished behind the Jamaicans inside Beijing’s Bird’s Nest in Beijing.

Brian Lewis, President of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee, said he received a letter from the IOC around 5.15 pm on Friday, went through it with staff then contacted the athletes to let them know.

He said the athletes have until January 7 to return their silver medals as part of the process.

He said the athletes have four choices regarding the re-allocation ceremony. They can opt to receive them at the next Olympic Games, at the Olympic Museum, the World Champs or the TTOC's annual awards on December 29.

Lewis said he is pushing for the team to receive a medal bonus which could hopefully be presented at the awards. The medal bonus programme was introduced when he became TTOC president.

"I will take a proposal to the committee that even though there was no medal bonus programme in place in 2008 or 2012 that the five athletes receive medal bonus as per the current medal bonus used for 2016 Olympics," he said.

The bonus for the relay team’s gold medal from the Rio Olympics was US$20,000 to be shared, he said.

The next executive meeting is on December 12.

Lewis said he is happy for the team but as President of the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (Canoc), he is conflicted.

"Those athletes, in particular, have served Trinidad and Tobago with dignity, patriotism, pride and an indomitable will throughout their careers But as I said with my Canoc hat on I feel a bit of empathy for the great man and our Jamaican brothers and sisters. Usain Bolt has conducted himself with class in this difficult situation," he said.

Lewis said the team has now joined the ranks of  Olympic gold medallists Hasely Crawford and Keshorn Walcott.

In 2016, the 4x100 relay team that placed third in the London Olympics in 2012 were upgraded to silver after American sprinter Tyson Gay received a one-year ban for testing positive for anabolic steroids.

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