27/07/2012 WIRE: LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27:  The Australian team walk the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images) Pic. Images Getty
27/07/2012 WIRE: LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: The Australian team walk the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images) Pic. Images Getty

PM tells Olympians: You won’t be going to Tokyo

Olympians have been told they won't be allowed to attend the Tokyo Games in the unlikely event they go ahead this year.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the newly introduced rules banning Australians from travelling overseas applied to everyone, including any athletes selected for the Olympics.

That means anyone selected to the Australian team will be blocked from going to Japan unless the restrictions are lifted by July - which seems highly unlikely after the Prime Minister warned the nation the lockdown could last more than six months.

"The AOC will make their decision but the simple answer is that we have a complete travel ban to the rest of the world, so the smartraveller advice and the advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade I think is pretty clear," he told 7News.

"The health of all Australians is the most important thing and there's nothing more important than that."

The Australian Olympic Committee said "the AOC respects and complies with all public health requirements."

Publicly, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is still maintaining that the Olympics will proceed as planned on July 24 and if they do, it could mark the first time Australia has missed the Summer Olympics.

One of just five countries to have attended every edition since 1896, Australia's best hope of maintaining their perfect attendance record is if the Games are delayed but sources have told The Daily Telegraph officials are now leaning towards an unprecedented postponement.

The fate of the Tokyo Olympics could be decided as early as tomorrow with the IOC and Japanese organisers looking for the best time to reschedule rather than the nuclear option of cancelling everything.

 

The Olympic flame landed in Japan this week but it is unlikely to reach the stadium this year.
The Olympic flame landed in Japan this week but it is unlikely to reach the stadium this year.

 

The IOC's executive board will be meeting by conference call to discuss whether to hold the Games for 2021 or 2022 ahead of another critical meeting with Japanese organisers later this week where the final decision could be made.

Despite IOC President Thomas Bach saying there was no need to rush into a decision, sources have said international broadcasters and sponsors have been briefed to expect an announcement sooner rather than later.

This is a direct response to the growing complaints from sporting bodies around the world who have questioned how athletes can be expected to continue training while health authorities are warning them to go into isolation and governments are introducing strict lockdowns.

Australia's elite competitors have not been as badly impacted as athletes from other countries where the outbreak is already out of control but their preparations are unravelling because high performance centres are being closed.

Members of Australia's track and field, triathlon, women's water polo and synchronised swimming teams were due to move to the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra in coming weeks but those training camps are now in doubt after the ACT went into lockdown.

"The situation with regard to COVID-19 and travel restrictions is rapidly evolving," the AIS said in a statement sent to The Daily Telegraph.

"The AIS will be consulting with government and other relevant bodies at Federal and State/Territory level to ascertain options for athletes coming in and out of the AIS Campus in Canberra."

After weeks of insisting it was business as usual, organisers are showing signs of bowing to pressure.

World Athletics boss Sebastian Coe told British media that a decision on the Games was imminent while US President Donald Trump revealed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had personally told him news was forthcoming.

"I told Abe...'That's your decision,'" Trump said. "I know he's gonna make it soon."

 

Originally published as PM tells Olympians: You won't be going to Tokyo


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