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Coronavirus latest: Team GB runner Learmonth calls for Olympics postponement

Coronavirus latest: Team GB runner Learmonth calls for Olympics postponement
© Reuters
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Saturday the country is hopeful of hosting the Olympics this summer "without a hitch".

Britain's Guy Learmonth has called on the International Olympic Committee to postpone the Olympics due to the coronavirus pandemic in order to give athletes "some clarity, transparency and flexibility".

Learmonth, who captained the GB team at the European Indoor Championships last year and hopes to compete in the 800 metres in Tokyo, favours delaying the Games until at least October or possibly even until 2021 or 2022.

The 27-year-old told the Guardian: "We have no idea how bad this is going to get, and what we have seen so far might be the tip of the iceberg.

"Of course the IOC and the whole world wants a successful Olympics. But for that to happen I strongly believe the event needs to be postponed, unless the authorities can guarantee it will be business as usual, which I don't believe they can.

"Purely from an athlete's point of view here, we need some clarity, transparency and flexibility. Because the press conference that I saw from the Japanese prime minister didn't exactly fill me full of confidence that these Games are going to go ahead whatsoever.

"We have to be realistic. If the British government are saying the peak is going to hit us around May or June there might not even be any Olympic trials. The Australians have already had theirs cancelled and I fear that this is going to be happening a lot throughout Europe as the weeks and months go by.

"I'd be happy if they postponed until at least October, or maybe later to 2021 or 2022. At least that would give the athletes time to now plan, train, and more importantly, time for this virus to settle down."

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Saturday the country is hopeful of hosting the Olympics this summer "without a hitch".

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