The British Cycling Olympic team have responded to the major news that the Tokyo 2020 will be postponed because of coronavirus.
On Tuesday (March 24), the Japanese Prime Minister confirmed that the Olympics will not be held as planned in July and August due to the spread of Covid-19, with the games delayed until summer 2021 at the latest.
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The news has been met with a mixture of disappointment and understanding from the athletes and staff who were preparing to repeat former Olympic glory.
Stephen Park, the performance director for the Great Britain Cycling Team, said: “The postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games is the right decision, given the global outbreak of coronavirus.
“While the news of the postponement is hugely disappointing to our committed team of staff and riders who have trained tirelessly with Tokyo 2020 in mind, the health of the nation must be the priority at this difficult time.
“We will work with the relevant authorities and our funding partners to establish the team’s plan for the coming months at the earliest opportunity. Our thoughts are with all those who have been affect by this virus.”
The chances of the Olympics going ahead as plan were quickly diminishing over the last week after the Canadian team withdrew from the games and the Australian squad told athletes to prepare for the Olympics to be delayed.
News finally came on Tuesday afternoon as the International Olympic Committee agreed to delay the games by a year.
Elinor Barker, the newly crowned points race world champion, said: “Well that’s that. Olympics postponed a year and Tokyo 2020 becomes Tokyo 20201. I’m devastated.”
Barker forms part of the women’s team pursuit squad and was looking to fight for gold in the Madison with Katie Archibald.
“That’s not to say I disagree with the decision”, she added. “100 per cent understand and respect the reasons.
“I know there are bigger issues right now and this pales in comparison to the loss a lot of people around the world are experiencing, but I can’t pretend it doesn’t hurt a little.”