Like many other National Olympic Associations around the world, the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) has welcomed with open arms the International Olympic Committee’s decision to reschedule the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, in wake of the global spread of the COVID-19 virus.
GOA President KA Juman-Yassin noted that the decision to host the Games no later than the summer of 2021 is in the best interest of the athletes involved and the viewing public.
The correspondence from the GOA President stated, “I participated in a video conference call today with the other members of the executive of PanAm Sports and we all agreed with the decision of the IOC. The decision of the President of the IOC and the Japanese Prime Minister of Japan was as a result of the information emanating from the WHO that although there was a decrease of the cases of coronavirus in China and Asia; there was, however, an acceleration of cases in other parts of the world and as such, there should be a rescheduling of the Games.
“It was decided that the Olympic Flame which had arrived in Japan would remain there and be kept lit until the Games begin.”
However, Juman-Yassin was keen to share some areas of concern that he and the Heads of the other organisations may have with the logistics of the now 2021 Games.
“The question that will have to be determined is what will be the position of those athletes who have already qualified for the Games. Will they have to go over the qualifying tournaments again or will their qualification be allowed to stand. About 57 per cent of athletes who have to qualify have already done so, and this is a question that the IOC and International Federations will have to determine. I do believe that it may be unfair to ask for re-qualification, but those athletes may have to show that they are still active and not resting on their haunches. The question of litigation may arise from some unhappy qualified athletes if they are requested to again qualify.
“Another issue to be determined by the IOC and Olympic Solidarity is whether the scholarships which end just before the Olympics will continue until the new date in 2021. I do expect that there will be a continuation as the policy and principle for the scholarships is to assist athletes financially so that they can train and be competitive for the Olympic Games.
“There are several issues that the IOC and PanAm Sports will have to determine and these will be dealt as the time goes by. Among the issues are the availability of the hotels in Japan, the continuation of sponsorships worldwide from companies and entities, the rescheduling of Games and availability of athletes, etc.”
Nonetheless, the media release noted that the GOA will be looking at all relevant issues and will endeavour to do what is best for the Olympic hopeful athletes. It went on to note that consultations with sporting associations and athletes will be conducted, so as to arrive at decisions that are in the best interests of athletes and Guyana.