Thu, 26 Mar 2020
PARALYMPIC athlete Jonathan Broom-Edwards has backed the decision of the International Olympic Committee to delay the games until 2021.
The Olympic and Paralympic Games were due to take place in Tokyo this summer, but the coronavirus outbreak left the IOC with no choice but to postpone them.
The announcement doesn’t come as a shock to the many athletes due to compete and Broom-Edwards knew it was the only thing the IOC could do.
He said: “I think it was the right thing to do because people’s health and people’s lives are more important and I think that is the general consensus around the world.
“There were nations looking to pull their teams out if the Games were going ahead – I think it was Canada who announced that first.
“It’s the right thing to do and, if anything, it’s an opportunity for 2021 when hopefully the coronavirus has gone and we can properly celebrate – it can bring together the world.”
Broom-Edwards, who won silver in the T44 high jump at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro has set his sights on gold in Tokyo.
Even though it’s disappointing for the 31-year-old, he believes it wouldn’t have been fair for the Games to go ahead.
He said: “I can’t say it’s not gutting because it’s what I have been working for, for the last four years, but to have an extra year to prepare is a good thing.
“There wouldn’t have been a level of fairness if it was to go ahead this year because all around the world, people are at different stages of ability to train.
“Some can’t access facilities, some can and some people have to do all of their training in one room so it wouldn’t be fair.”
Thousands of athletes around the world are in the same position as Broom-Edwards and he admitted that it can affect someone’s approach to training.
He said: “I came back from the World Championships late last year, so my winter training block was when other athletes were doing their indoor season block, which is when they’re tapering off a bit for competitions.
“In the next two months I would’ve been looking to taper up, ready for competitions so the training becomes lighter, but with quicker movements.
“For now though, it’s like going back to the drawing board.”
Although the former Clere School pupil is in a position to train, there is a chance the facilities could close, meaning alternative plans will have to be made.
He said: “We’re yet to have full conversations with my team because everyone is in isolation at the moment, but we’re communicating as best as we can for a plan.
“It might be training in the house, or going for runs outside, so it’s definitely affecting everyone.
“We’re sanitising every few minutes, trying to keep our distance and it’s a bit of a mad time.”
“I am fortunate to have access to an outdoor track – which I can use once a day – it covers most of my training at the moment.”
As a charity ambassador, Broom-Edwards spends time visiting schools, as well as working as a therapist, and even this has had to be changed.
He said: “My therapy work has been affected and because I am self-employed I have definitely taken a hit.
“However, I am very fortunate that I am a funded athlete and that helps me cover my mortgage.”