New Delhi: World Athletics president Sebastian Coe has said he has seen cast-iron determination in the organisers to stage the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year.
Originally scheduled to be held from July 24 to August 9 this year, the Tokyo Olympics was in March postponed to 2021 following the outbreak of coronavirus. It is now set to be held from July 23 to August 8 next year.
“There probably will be greater adaptation, they probably will demand more from your teams than we have seen at an Olympic Games before, but please reassure your athletes as they enter preparation stages that there is a determination to stage the Olympic Games in Tokyo,” Coe, who led a delegation of World Athletics to Tokyo recently, said on Sunday while addressing the valedictory session of the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) via video conferencing from London.
During his address, Coe said that despite huge uncertainties, World Athletics had done well in the traumatic months in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. “World Athletics has made some brave decisions in facing many challenges,” he said, adding that such bravery would not count if member federations did not back them. “AFI has played an essential role in these times.”
He also appreciated AFI for its tough stand against doping, for improving its athletes performances in a number of events and for being in the forefront of keeping the sport active in these uncertain times.
Coe said he was delighted to see the progress that India is making internationally in its performances in not just one or two events but across the broad spectrum.
“Also, the tough stand that you are taking in doing everything you can to eradicate the scourge of doping,” the World Athletics President said. “These are challenging issues in challenging times. I am delighted that you, like many member federations of World Athletics, are not hiding from these challenges.”
He also congratulated dille J. Sumariwalla and Anju Bobby George for being elected unopposed as AFI President for the third successive term and Senior Vice President respectively. “It is my pleasure to welcome you back in your position, Adille,” he said.