March 21, 2020 / 6:17 PM / in 13 days

Olympics-Decision may be coming soon on Tokyo Games, Coe says

March 21 (Reuters) - Whether the Tokyo Olympics should take place may soon become obvious, World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said on Saturday.

Coe's comments came as numerous athletes and federations called for a delay in the competition, which is scheduled to run from July 24 to Aug. 9, because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"A decision on the Olympic Games may become very obvious very quickly in the coming days and weeks," Coe said in a statement to Reuters.

"As I said last week, I don’t think we should have the Olympic Games at all costs, certainly not at the cost of athlete safety.

"The issue of competition fairness is paramount," he said, adding that athletes were struggling to train in various countries due to measures put in place to reduce the spread of the coronavirus which has killed thousands.

"If we lose the level playing field, then we lose the integrity of the competition," Coe said. "Nobody wants this, least of all the athletes or the fans."

Despite the clamour to delay the Olympics, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has pressed on, saying the Games will go ahead as scheduled.,

"This is uncharted territory for all of us," Coe said.

Regional athletics officials were asked last week to talk to federations and their athletes so that World Athletics could get a global picture of the shifting landscape, with different parts of the world at different stages of the virus, Coe said.

A meeting is scheduled for early next week to review and discuss the situation. (Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; editing by Clare Fallon)

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