25 March 2020
#TOKYO2021 - POINTS OF VIEW FROM THE JUDO FAMILY
The IOC have decided to postpone the Tokyo Olympic Games, stating they will be held no later than summer 2021. We went straight to those affected, asking athletes and coaches how they felt regarding this monumental, career-changing news amid the global health crisis.
"It is very difficult for athletes, for us, but people's health is the main thing! I hope everything will be good soon. Our thoughts and prayers are with people who are victims of the corona virus. May god bless you all! And of course, I will be stronger for Olympic Games 2021!"
Rustam Orujov, AZE
"I don’t really have an opinion on it at the moment, I haven’t really digested the information. It’s devastating to have our worlds turned upside down but in light of what’s been going on I’m not surprised. In time we will all adjust I guess. We can only control the controllable, so acceptance of the situation is the fastest way to be at peace."
Nekoda Smythe-Davis, GBR
"I think it’s good that they have postponed it. Many athletes were doing everything they can to train and that’s not healthy for the athletes and the people around them. Now we all can be safer and healthier during these hard times. Also it would really not be fair if they didn’t postpone it. Many athletes would not be able to qualify in other sports and train properly for this amazing event. So for that I am happy that they changed it. For the preparations, we can adjust, that’s not really an issue. We will manage that like we always do."
Noel van 'T End, NED
"I was waiting for there to be a postponement, but not for one year. First of all it's important now to stay healthy, all of us. For all coaches now it's a challenge regarding timing of performance for athletes. We will stay strong against the corona virus first and also stay stronger to go back to our job which we love so much and that's Judo on the tatami."
Driton Kuka, KOS
"I believe although it is sad, I believe it is the best thing to do to give everyone a safe and fair chance for the Olympics."
Ben Fletcher, IRL
"I think it is the right decision. All the pressure and the uncertainties are gone. Now we can focus more on our health and then on the sport we love so much."
Anna-Maria Wagner, GER
"I think it is the right decision. The most important thing is health and safety. Looking forward to an amazing Olympic Games in 2021!"
Anna Bernholm, SWE
"Each crisis is a new challenge, an opportunity for each of us to approve and manifest ourselves. Judo teaches us to be smart and human, not only strong, so each athlete, every coach should find the best solution for him or her on how to manage at such times, looking after themselves and their close ones. I am certain that the European national federations are facing the current challenges with courage, that they are providing the best possible care for their community and that they will bring their medals from the postponed Olympics."
Sergey Soloveychik, EJU President
"This allows us to stay focused and continue training. That is all that what we can do and that is how I will handle this situation. I will continue with training.
And please stay at home. We have to slow the spread of the virus, so that we will all stay alive. Also to have better conditions for the Olympic Games next year and to come back to a normal life. Stay at home!"
Teddy Riner, FRA