Call off Olympics, says quadruple gold medallist

Matthew Pinsent won gold at 4 consecutive Games for Britain in rowing. (Reuters pic)

NEW YORK: Four-time Olympic rowing champion Matthew Pinsent has called for Tokyo 2020 to be called off, describing the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as “tone deaf” for proceeding with the Games amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Pinsent’s comments reflect mounting concern from current and former athletes that the full-steam-ahead approach by IOC is inappropriate in the current global health crisis.

“I’m sorry Mr Bach but this is tone-deaf,” Britain’s Pinsent tweeted on Wednesday, referring to IOC President Thomas Bach.

“The instinct to keep safe (not to mention obey government instructions to lockdown) is not compatible with athlete training, travel and focus that a looming Olympics demands of athletes, spectators organisers etc. Keep them safe. Call it off.”

Pinsent, 49, won gold at four consecutive Olympics from 1992 until 2004.

The Olympics is scheduled to take place from July 24-Aug 9.

The coronavirus outbreak has shredded the sporting calendar and has already started affecting some Olympic qualifying events.

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