Postponing Olympics 

Painful yet inevitable step

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The 2020 Tokyo Olympics scheduled for July and early August this year have been postponed for a year as the coronavirus pandemic  infects over 400, 000 people in 197 countries killing well over 10, 000 people. The announcement was made by the International Olympic Committee on Tuesday.

This is the first postponement of an Olympics in peacetime. This is an important decision in order to protect the health of athletes, potential spectators and whole army of organisers.

Japan was ahead of the curve and had been able to make commendable preparations well before the time. In spite of the virus fears so many people turned up at the Olympic lighting ceremony in Tokyo.

Other sports competitions worldwide too have been cancelled. Closer home Pakistan was having a successful run of fifth edition of Pakistan Super League. Now no one can tell with certainty about the last leg that has been postponed. The T20I World Cup in Australia must also be in danger as no country in the world has come up with a certain date by which it could be able to bring it under control. The invisible enemy at the moment is on an upward trajectory and strict lockdown seems to be the only workable strategy. Sports no matter how exciting a pastime, is a surer way of spreading infections around to a huge number of people and hence there is a good reason for all events to be  suspended for the time being.

With nearly one-third of the world in practical lockdown and international travel suspended across the world, and players in constant fear of the virus, there was no way for the athletes to continue to train with single-mindedness and travel around. As the international teams and associations called for postponement it was only a matter of time that the IOC announced it.

In terms of financial loss when economies are already in a downward spiral, the postponement of the world most watched and anticipated event could cost around $6 billion.

Leaving sports aside, the world is faced with a challenge that no one remembers having encountered ever in their lifetime. We only know through records that tell of a 1918 influenza epidemic. Hence it is only understandable that no one was prepared for it. It may be a long shot at this stage but the historic US elections might be the next in line to take a hit from this ‘Chinese’ virus.