The Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) has revealed that it would wait for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and World Health Organisation (WHO) to give the final verdict on whether the 2020 Tokyo Olympics slated to begin on July 24 would still hold before taking its own decision.
The rapid spread of Corona Virus (Covid-19) across the world, including host nation, Japan, has forced many countries to review their participation in the event.
NOC Media Officer, Phemmy Adetula, told The Guardian yesterday that the committee was still monitoring situations, adding that the country would not join Canada and Australia, who have already announced their withdrawals from the Olympics due to fears of exposing their athletes to the virus.
Adetula, however, enjoined Nigerian athletes preparing for the games to still be hopeful, adding that the NOC would not allow them to travel to Japan if their health would be endangered by Covid-19.
“Nigeria is not withdrawing from the 2020 Olympics yet, although the NOC is aware that there are calls for the postponement of the games.
“Some countries have started pulling out of the Olympics, but we believe the world Health Organisation and the IOC are working hard to address their concerns.
“Japan has spent millions of dollars to prepare for this event and it will not be easy to take immediate decision on it.
“The deadly Coronavirus has killed many people so it will not be easy to expose athletes to the Olympics Games in the current situation… that is why more investigations are being carried out on daily basis to ascertain the possibility of the Olympics still holding.
“Our stance in the NOC is to wait for IOC’s final verdict on the issue. The country will not pull out and we have told Nigerian athletes to remain calm and follow all safety rules that will protect them from the Covid-19,” he said.
Meanwhile, the IOC is giving itself up to four weeks to decide whether it will postpone the 2020 Games in Tokyo.
There have been numerous calls in recent weeks for organizers to postpone the Olympics because of the growing coronavirus pandemic.
Up until now, the committee has been dragging its feet, saying it’s too early to make any kind of decision. But with a “dramatic increase in new [coronavirus] cases,” the IOC said Sunday it’s now decided to speed up it’s scenario-planning.
The committee said it’s ruled out canceling the Games altogether, but it could postpone them or scale them down.
If the IOC ultimately goes ahead with that second option, both Canada and Australia have already announced they won’t be sending any athletes to compete in the 2020 Games.