Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Narinder Batra has expressed confidence that the Tokyo Olympics should go as planned despite the anti-Olympics protests that are currently going on in Japan. He also stated that the Tokyo Olympics are a perfect competition to change the mindsets of people.
The current COVID situation has escalated in Japan forcing the common people and the medical fraternity to call for the cancelation of the Tokyo Olympics. An anti-Olympic petition has also been submitted with 350,000 signatures.
Batra stated that COVID has changed the lifestyle of common citizens and people should try to move on now. He also believes that the Tokyo Olympics is the best event at this moment to bring in a positive change all around the world.
“I am all for the Tokyo Olympics happening,” Batra was quoted as saying to Sportstar. “I think it is the right event that is going to change the mindset of people. COVID has totally changed the lifestyles of people and I would say now the message has to go to everyone that we have to now come out of it.”
“On a very positive note, I am 100 percent sure the Games should happen. I don’t see any reason why they should not,” he added.
The past year has been one of the toughest times for the athletes and also for the administrators. Batra, a sports administrator for almost two decades, reiterated that everyone has accepted the new normal in a very positive manner and it’s been a great teamwork till now ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
“April-May last year may have been a bit tough for everyone because we were trying to adjust to a totally new situation and totally new protocols that were completely unknown before. But after that, especially in terms of preparations, I don’t think there has been any problem,” he added.
“Things keep developing and it’s our job to keep sorting them out. I don’t now see any problem in training or equipment for the athletes. There has also been a lot of support from the sports federations, the government, SAI (Sports Authority of India) – it’s been good team work,” stated Batra.
Track & field stars to get last shot to qualify for Tokyo Olympics
The current travel ban imposed by several European countries on India has affected a lot of athletes as far as Tokyo Olympics is concerned. Badminton stars Kidambi Srikanth and Saina Nehwal, and sprinters Dutee Chand and Hima Das are some who have been heavily affected.
A couple of badminton events (Malaysian Open, Singapore Open) got postponed due to COVID-19. Meanwhile, the Indian athletics contingent was forced to withdraw from the World Athletics Relay at the eleventh hour because of the travel ban.
Batra said track and field athletes will get one last chance to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.
“The AFI has said it will be holding an event in India to give a chance for qualification. They said they have time till June and will have to invite a few countries. They will hold those events and make sure our athletes get a qualification chance,” he concluded.