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Slovenia welcomes decision to postpone Summer Olympics

Ljubljana, 24 March - Slovenian Olympic Committee (OKS) president Bogdan Gabrovec welcomed the decision to postpone the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, which had been scheduled for 24 July-9 August. He said that common sense had prevailed and that it was athletes who would benefit the most from the decision, which took a huge burden off their backs.

Sochi, Russia.
Olympic rings.
Photo: Stanko Gruden/STA

Gabrovec, who urged the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to postpone the Olympics four days ago, told the STA that "reason has prevailed on time" as he commented on the agreement reached between Japanese PM Shinzo Abe and IOC president Thomas Bach.

"Due to the situation and inability to practice, athletes would have been under great stress, and now they can relax and start thinking ahead, which will make it easier for them to wait for the moment when the situation will improve," he added.

Gabrovec is happy that the organisers and the IOC have made a decision with a positive effect, and that they have showed that, regardless of the economic consequences, they care about athletes, that their health comes first.

The OKS president was among the first to publicly state that it would not make sense to hold the games in July and August, and his comments encouraged other national committees to oppose Bach in his persistent reluctance to postpone the event.

Gabrovec is also happy that the organisation will not incur additional costs related to a possible two-week quarantine of Slovenian athletes ahead of the games, and the related logistics effort.

The IOC has confirmed that the Summer Olympics will be moved to 2021. The new date is expected to be determined on 30 March.

Gabrovec thinks that the coronavirus crisis will affect the national Olympic committee, but not as much as other sport organisations. "We have sponsors which will not go down with the crisis."

On the other hand, things could be worse when it comes to state funding, which represents 14% of the OKS's budget, Gabrovec said, expressing hope that the new government will not reduce funding for sport.

zm/mab
© STA, 2020