March 20 (Reuters) - Usain Bolt’s long time coach called on Friday for this year's Tokyo Olympics to be put off until 2021 as the Covid-19 Coronavirus continues to claim lives around the world.
"My recommendation would be to postpone the Olympics until next year,” Jamaican sprint coach Glen Mills told Reuters in a telephone interview.
“This would be unprecedented, but we are in unprecedented time. Move everything up one year and then everything will eventually fall back in place.
"But I don’t think that the Olympics will take place at the time that is specified (July and August) because the outbreak is worldwide and in some countries, it is just starting to accelerate.
"I can’t see the Olympics going ahead; taking persons from all over the world and bringing them to one central point."
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Tokyo organisers have maintained that the Games should go ahead as scheduled to start on July 24.
Mills, who coached the now retired Bolt to eight Olympic gold medals and 11 world championship titles, said his current athletes at the Racers Track Club have been unable to train since Wednesday.
This was due to measures taken by the Jamaican Health Ministry, including the closure of training tracks and gyms.
"Right now the important thing is for them to isolate themselves and follow social distancing," Mills said.
"The athletes have been instructed to do whatever exercises they can do at home and if they have any open spaces to exercise until the training facilities reopen and then we can re-start proper training."
The virus will likely have a huge economic impact for athletes given the anticipated cancellation and postponement of meetings during the outdoor season, Mills added. (Editing by Gene Cherry and Toby Davis)