Coach Edmonds explains the possible impacts of Olympic postponement

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It could be a good thing; it could be a bad thing. That’s how local athletics coach Julian Edmonds views the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The Games were this week shifted to 2021 owing to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The event, originally due to begin on July 24, will now take place “no later than summer 2021.”

While it gives more time to athletes who would have already qualified to further strengthen their skills, it also means the older athletes would have to wait another year.

Recently, Pat Graham of the Associated Press wrote an article titled, “The old guards: Gatlin, Powell hanging on for Games in 2021”, as both are virtually at the swansong of their careers.

“Take for example probably older folks who would have wanted to make this Olympics their last Olympics, they [now] have to take their body through one more year. For those who were almost there or not there, it gives them more time to prepare, so it is kind of on the balance, but obviously athletes and spectators safety along with coaches and managers is of utmost importance,” Edmonds told News Room Sport Thursday.

Another issue will be qualification. On March 24, the Guyana Olympic Association through its President, K.A. Juman-Yassin released a statement on such.

According to the GOA President, the question that will have to be determined is what will be the position of those athletes who have already qualified for the Games. Will they have to go over the qualifying tournaments again or will their qualification be allowed to stand.

400m specialist, Aliyah Abrams, is the lone Guyanese thus far to qualify for the Games

About 57% of athletes who have to qualify have already done so and this is a question that the IOC and International Federations will have to determine, the GOA president pointed out.

“I do believe that it may be unfair to ask for re-qualification but those athletes may have to show that they are still active and not resting on their haunches,” Juman-Yassin stated.

Edmonds believes in the coming days the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) will have to decide on a way forward since the initial deadline for qualification was June 2020.

Thus far, 400m specialist, Aliyah Abrams, is the lone Guyanese to qualify for the Games, however, Edmonds, who is also a Level II IAAF Coach, felt more will, based on their performances last year and early into the 2020 season.

Another factor will also be the current World Ranking status, which could be used as a qualifying method.

Last year, the IAAF the introduced the World Ranking System, which encourages top athletes to compete for head-to-head in the important meets, such as Diamond League, World Challenge and other high profile meets. The World Ranking System will be used to fill fields at the Olympics.

“The process is designed to achieve about 50 percent of the target numbers for each event through entry standards and the remaining 50 percent through the IAAF world ranking system,” the IAAF wrote in a press release.

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