Chinese athletes preparing for the 2020 Olympics have been forced to practice isolation due to the pandemic crisis caused by the new strain of coronavirus.
Accordingly, top athletes or preparing to compete for tickets to the Olympics are being kept behind closed doors across the country, an official told Xinhua.
The pandemic pneumonia has killed more than 300 people and spread to at least 27 countries since it originated in China’s Wuhan city. More than 14,000 people have been infected and the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a global emergency.
Liu Guoyong, Vice Chairman of the China Olympic Committee (COC), said: “The athletes are training behind closed doors in different cities at home and abroad to prepare for the Olympics and elimination round, qualifying round. So far, no athlete from the national team has been reported infected or suspected of being infected with coronavirus. We will do our best to prevent all infected athletes.”
The official added that the COC contacted the International Olympic Committee (IOC) regarding the participation of Chinese athletes in the 2020 Olympic qualifiers. The discussions were conducted after the women’s soccer team. China’s quarantine in Brisbane after coming to Australia to attend an Olympic qualifying tournament. The team was in Wuhan, which was originally chosen to host the 2020 Olympic women’s football tournament before being relocated to Australia on concern about the risk of coronavirus infection. Four players from the team were unable to leave China, including experienced midfielder Wang Shuang, along with a revised schedule.
Mr. Liu said that Chinese athletes would have special arrangements for accommodation and transportation. “There will be more than 100 Olympic qualifying tournaments around the world from February to April. Hopefully, Chinese athletes can prepare well and get more Olympic spots. The IOC has asked different international sports federations to provide all possible support and convenience for Chinese athletes”, Liu said.
So far, the World Athletics Championships – scheduled for March in Nanjing, is the biggest sporting event postponed due to the coronavirus. The prize was delayed for one year until March 3.2021. The test event for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics was also cancelled. Other sports affected include boxing, football, wrestling, basketball, tennis, hockey, badminton, horseback riding, golf, etc. President of the German Olympic Sports Federation Alfons Hormann describes the virus as the greatest threat to Tokyo 2020, with the host country Japan being one of the countries with confirmed cases of infection.