Pocket Rocketman lauds Games delay

Azizulhasni Awang commended the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee for taking the bold step to postpone the Olympics to next year.

The former world keirin champion and Rio Olympics bronze medallist welcomed the decision, stressing that the health and safety of athletes must come first.

The IOC and the Tokyo Organising Committee had initially appeared reluctant to postpone the Games until Canada, Australia and Britain threatened to withdraw from the Olympics if it is still held this year.

“This is the right decision by the IOC because the health and safety of athletes should be the main priority. Without the athletes, there would be no sports,” said Azizulhasni, when contacted in Melbourne yesterday.

“I would like to congratulate IOC and the Tokyo organisers for finally coming forward and making an official statement (on the postponement).

“To me this postponement is a positive. If the Games were to be held this year, I would surely be worried about my health whilst competing there,” said the Pocket Rocketman, who won two bronze medals at the World Championships earlier this month in Berlin.

Azizulhasni added that the postponement means that athletes can now reschedule their Olympic training plans.

Earlier, many athletes around the world were put in a difficult position over the uncertainties facing the Olympics and due to lockdowns and travel restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This postponement allows athletes and teams who have qualified for the Olympics a chance to make changes to their training plans,” added Azizulhasni.

“It also gives me more time to prepare, which is good.

“Prior to this, our training was geared towards peaking in August (this year) but after the announcement yesterday, our scheduling and training programme will of course be changed.

“This (making changes) is not a problem for me and the team.”

Azizulhasni, 32, and Muhammad Shah Firdaus Sahrom, 25, have both qualified for the Olympics keirin and individual sprint events.

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