With the news earlier today that neither Australia nor Canada will send their athletes to the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo, Taiwan’s Olympic Committee (TOC) has a tough decision to make.
On March 20th, preparations for the games were still underway in a statement released by Sun Lih-chyun, a TOC consultant, according to online reports, even after a 45 nation teleconference with fellow Asian International Olympic Committees a day earlier.
IOC & Japan Stall For Time
Over the weekend both the IOC and the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe remained non-committal. A global press release on Monday morning did, however, state that the IOC still had four more weeks in which to make a decision.
This approach was similar in form to comments made by Sun Lih-chyun in indicating individual Taiwanese athletes should not rely upon their national committee, but will have to make their own decisions on whether or not to take part.
So far, no Taiwanese athlete has gone on record stating their intent to boycott the Games, or otherwise.
IOC President Thomas Bach though has reportedly spoken with over 200 athletes and their representatives to stress his focus on personal health above and beyond all other factors.
Revolt From Within?
That said, he does appear to be fighting an uphill battle from within his own organization. Influential Japanese Olympic Committee member Yamaguchi Kaori, a medalist in judo at the 1988 Games, recently went public with a desire for the Olympics to be put off until after the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
The head of Spain’s Olympic Committee has also expressed doubts at his nation’s ability to prepare given the severity of the pandemic in Spain.
In Taiwan, no athletes have been reported as directly affected by the pandemic yet, although organized sports events have essentially been mothballed.
As a result this lack of ability to prepare against fellow Olympians or those competing for places at Tokyo 2020, either at home in Taiwan or overseas is simply ‘on hold’.