“I think it’s a good call to postpone it to next year. I’m just a little bit sad because it’s the first year surfing was involved in the olympics.”
Rabat – Moroccan Olympic athletes have expressed support for the decision to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to the summer of 2021.
“I think it’s a good call to postpone it to next year. I’m just a little bit sad because it’s the first year surfing was involved in the Olympics,” says Ramzi Roukhiam, a 26-year-old Moroccan surfer who qualified for the 2020 games.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo agreed to postpone the Olympic Games on March 24, after acknowledging agreed the measure was necessary “to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community” due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics are set to open on July 23, 2021, and close August 8, 2021. The Paralympics are set for August 24 – September 5, 2021. Originally, Tokyo was going to hold the games between July and August of 2020.
In a video Inspire Middle East published, Roukhiam encourages everyone to “try to stay positive and see the bright side and see the future, and every single one of us getting out of this.”
The Olympic Games happen every four years with more than 200 nations sending qualified athletes to join the competition. Since the founding of the international multi-sport competition in 1896, there has never been a cancellation or postponing of the event.
Morocco’s state of emergency, put into effect on March 20, has forced athletes to train from home.
Taekwondo athlete Achraf Mahboubi, another Moroccan qualifier for the 2020 Olympics, explains that despite the challenge, training from home has been an opportunity to get stronger and work on weaknesses.
In an interview with MWN last month, Mahboubi expressed concern over the spread of the virus and urged youth to stay at home with their parents.
Members of the IOC have assured athletes their 2020 qualifications are still valid, attendees will get ticket refunds, and health is the committee’s first priority when making all relevant decisions.
“A number of measures addressing the potential impact of COVID-19 will be incorporated into the Games Delivery Plan for the Games in 2021.”