New Delhi [India], Mar 24 (ANI): Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra on Tuesday welcomed the decision to postpone the Tokyo Olympics to next year due to the coronavirus pandemic and said that the current environment would not have been appropriate to go on with the event.
"I think this was a welcome decision for us athletes in the circumstances and not something that came as a surprise. While we were looking forward to Tokyo 2020, the environment wouldn't have been appropriate for the event to be celebrated the way it should be," Chopra told ANI.
"I would say we should look at this positively as it would allow us a year more to plan and train for the Olympics, which is the biggest sporting event for many athletes. There will be some impact on preparations over the next few months until the situation is brought under control, but that is something that all athletes are facing equally".
The javelin thrower who qualified for the Olympics this year said that he is not thinking about qualification and the entire focus should be on overcoming the current scenario.
"For now, I'm not thinking about the qualification; there are experts at the IOC and World Athletics who will take everything into consideration before making a decision," Chopra said.
"So I think it would be best at this point for us to all focus on overcoming this challenging situation with our health intact for now, and then work towards the Olympics next year depending on the eventual decision that is taken," he added.
Earlier in the day, shuttler Saina Nehwal also welcomed IOC's decision to postpone the Tokyo Games to next year.
"It's a good decision by IOC. For all the athletes who have qualified and for all the athletes who haven't n still waiting to participate in the remaining qualifiers. Considering the current situation all around the world, every athlete will be at peace now. Safety first," Nehwal tweeted.
Earlier today, for the first time in the history of the mega global event, the Olympics were postponed by a year.
The decision was confirmed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) after the organising body for the event and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed to reschedule the Tokyo Olympics in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Tokyo Olympics will now take place next year.
The IOC has, however, said that the original name of Tokyo 2020 will remain intact irrespective of the fact that it will take place next year.
"In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community," the IOC said in an official statement.
The Tokyo Olympic Games were slated to be held from July 24 to August 9, while the Paralympic Games were scheduled to be held from August 25 to September 6. (ANI)