The former Indian national player also condemned the Badminton World Federation for not suspending the All England Championship.
Pullela Gopichand is of the opinion that the upcoming Tokyo Olympics which are originally scheduled to be played from 24th July should be postponed in light of the coronavirus pandemic. India’s chief badminton coach expressed that IOC should take the call soon.
He said that to prepare for the mega event, the athletes should be playing other tournaments, going to exposure tours while keeping up with their preparation schedule. “If Olympics happen as per schedule, as of today people should be participating in tournaments. They should be going for exposure tournaments and planning their schedule. It’s not that Olympics happen in July and people start training on June 20.”(via TOI)
The COVID-19 pandemic has killed over 8000 people and has infected more than 2,00,000 globally. However, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said that it expects the Games to begin on time.
“I have my doubts about the Olympics. It is not like it is far away. The preparation has to start now. So, the IOC has to take a call now for everyone to relax,” Gopichand told PTI(via NDTV).
“I think, in the present scenario, with the health scares and all the travel restrictions and all, it is a tough time and at the moment the whole world is thinking about health and safety for its citizens, so I think given the situation it is better if the Olympics are postponed,” he added.
Also, the All England Championship, which was held earlier this month, has brought much criticism towards the Badminton World Federation for conducting it despite the rapid spread of the deadly disease.
The London Olympics bronze-medallist Saina Nehwal has also been vocal as she slammed BWF for compromising the safety of the people.
Voicing his concern, Pullela Gopichand said, “Definitely, I think it was a wrong decision on BWF’s part to put the players at risk by hosting the All England.” Currently, Pullela Gopichand is in self-isolation after returning from Birmingham.
As a result of the backlash, the BWF suspended all tournaments till April 12.