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When going gets tough, the tough should get going

WITH Tanzanian marathoners; Alphonce Simbu and Failuna Matanga fully involved in medal hunt mission, there is a growing fear that the Tokyo 2020 Olympic likely to be postponed over the horrifying threat of coronavirus.

Still amid the fear and worries, it was very motivating to hear that the organisers of Tokyo 2020 Olympic urging frustrated athletes not to give up, but they should train for it.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC), the organiser, maintains that there is no need for any drastic decisions at this stage, urging the respective national associations to continue preparing their teams.

In their response that went viral this week, the Olympic organisers said athletes should continue with their training schedules for the summer showpiece scheduled to begin on the 24th of July despite seeing the relentless cancellation of many sporting events in a response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Many athletes like other sports personalities fear that coronavirus may not be alleviated by July 24, but Tanzanians should have hopes that by then the pandemic coronavirus might have been dealt with.

The IOC responded, stating: “This is an exceptional situation which requires exceptional solutions. The IOC is committed to finding a solution with the least negative impact for the athletes, while protecting the integrity of the competition and the athletes’ health. The statement added: “No solution will be ideal in this situation, and this is why we are counting on the responsibility and solidarity of the athletes.”

The International Olympic Committee advice ‘encourages athletes to continue to prepare for the Olympics Games as best as they can’ with the Olympics only four months away though many countries insist isolation at home, with tracks, gyms and public spaces closed.

Also involved, according are club training sessions, events, competitions, club committee and face-to-face meetings, athlete camps, running groups and social events have been suspended across the globe.

This means our envoys who earlier announced to pitch a camp in Kenya, must design an off-camp training to keep them fit for the Tokyo 2020 showpiece, something that can only be achieved by picking the venue almost similar to those selected earlier.

On Tuesday, March 17, 2020, the IOC asked athletes to continue preparations “as best they can” and it was further encouraged by the hosting nation Japan whose Prime Minister Shinzo Abe insisted the Games will go ahead as planned in July.

But, as IOC declared, events, including the handover of the Olympic torch in Athens have faced disruption. Until Wednesday this week, World Health Organisation figures show more than 184,000 people globally have been infected by coronavirus, with more than 7,500 deaths.

The shocking number of those who have caught the virus and those who have died is shocking, but that should not lead our athletes to stop training because efforts to prevent the disease and find its cure have been progressing well.

Our athletes must take seriously what the International Olympic Committee (IOC) advices as it doesn’t want them to give up hopes.

The statement issued on Tuesday, March 17, 2020 reads; The IOC said: “This is an unprecedented situation for the whole world, and our thoughts are with all those affected by this crisis. We are in solidarity with the whole of society to do everything to contain the virus” “We will keep supporting the athletes by consulting with them and their respective NOCs, and by providing them with the latest information and developments, which are accessible for athletes worldwide on the Athlete365 website and via their respective NOCs and IFs,” the statement adds.

The IOC has confidence that the many measures being taken by many authorities around the world will help contain the situation of the COVID-19 virus.

“In this context, the IOC welcomes the support of the G7 leaders as expressed by Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo."

Simbu and Failuna, who have qualified to run in men’s and women’s 42km marathon are great hopes for Tanzanians and the have an assurance from the organisers that they will be safe from the virus in July as the organisers are committed to continue acting in a responsible way and have agreed on the overriding principles about the staging of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

They will protect the health of everyone involved and to support the containment of the virus to safeguard the interests of the athletes and of Olympic sport.

I CANNOT pretend to be the closest friend ...

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Author: MIGUEL SULEIMAN

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