EOC and EAF at war over athletes camping for Tokyo 2020 amid of COVID-19 threat

Haileegziabher Adhanom – AIPS Member

ADDIS ABABA, March 22, 2020 – The Ethiopian Olympic Committee, on Saturday March 21, released a communiqué asking all athletes, coaches and other professionals who have been selected for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to report to camp, starting from the same day, at the Ambassador Hotel in Addis Ababa, even though the country’s Ministry of Health has already suspended all mass gatherings.

The National Olympic Committee stated in its Communiqué that, “all the necessary precautionary measures were being taken, such as: setting up a panel of health experts” for the athletes camping in the hotel. They argued that the move is to make sure their athletes do not lag behind in preparation for this summer’s global showpiece, of which the IOC President, via a video call, gave them a guarantee that the event will proceed on its original schedule.

However, the Ethiopian Athletics Federation (EAF) has rejected the EOC’s move in its entirety, labeling it as “irresponsible”. The EAF warned that the priority should be given to the wellbeing of the athletes.

“We have to be realistic, about what is going on around the world and respect the instructions given by the health authorities. Those instructions remind us to keep our social distancing and they are there to protect us all. But, the latest move by the EOC is totally against those guidelines and will put our athletes health in greater risk,” said EAF’s First Vice President Derartu Tulu.

Even though there are an increasing number of calls for the IOC to postpone the Olympics, which is scheduled from 24th of July – August 9, 2020, IOC president Thomas Bach has insisted that, “it is premature” to discuss the postponement of the event since there are still four and half months. The IOC also stated that it encourages all athletes to continue to prepare for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 as best as they can in its latest communiqué released on March 17.

Visit www.liyusport.com for more news from Ethiopia.

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