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Optimism that Olympics will go ahead


Peter Sherrard of the Olympic Federation of Ireland

Peter Sherrard of the Olympic Federation of Ireland

Peter Sherrard of the Olympic Federation of Ireland

The Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI) remain optimistic that the Tokyo Games will go ahead in mid-summer despite the global coronavirus outbreak.

"The advice from Tokyo, and they are working with the IOC (International Olympic Committee) and the national government on this, is that they believe the Games will go ahead.

"From our point of view, that is realistic as it is still five months away and a lot can happen," said OFI chief executive Peter Sherrard.

"We have to continue planning as we always would, it would be irrational not to," said Sherrard.

Nonetheless, there are continuing doubts whether the Games can proceed as planned. The opening ceremony is less than five months away on July 24 next.

Dick Pound of the International Olympic Committee said on Tuesday that there is at most a three-month window to decide the fate of the Games. Effectively this means a decision could be put off until late May.

"In and around that time, I'd say folks are going to have to ask: 'Is this under sufficient control that we can be confident about going to Tokyo or not?'" said Pound who also indicated that the organisers are more likely to cancel the Games altogether than postpone or move them.

Sherrard said the IOC haven't put a date on when they will make a final decision on whether the Games proceed. "I'm not sure Dick's comments necessarily reflect what they're thinking. You'd have to ask them."

Meanwhile, the Irish boxing squad returned to Ireland from their training camp in Assisi in Italy.

According to Fergal Carruth, chief executive of the Irish Athletic Boxing Association, there was no outbreak of coronavirus or any other restrictions in Assisi. "It was a matter of precaution and they will now finish their training in Abbotstown in preparation for next month's Olympic qualifying tournament in London," he said.