The Latest: Athletes' group call for Olympic postponement

A man walks past a large banner promoting the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Monday, March 23, 2020. The International Olympic Committee on Tuesday pos...

A man walks past a large banner promoting the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Monday, March 23, 2020. The International Olympic Committee on Tuesday pos...

The Latest on the effect of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:

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A group representing track and field athletes has called for the Tokyo Olympics to be postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The Athletics Association's statement comes a day after the International Olympic Committee set itself a four-week deadline to decide on a delay.

Athletics Association president Christian Taylor and vice president Emma Coburn say “we’re imploring the IOC to announce the postponement of Tokyo 2020 Olympics much sooner than in four weeks’ time.”

Taylor is a long jumper and Coburn is a runner. Both competed for the United States at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

The group says more than 4,000 athletes have responded to a survey it conducted, with a large majority favoring postponement.

Dina Asher-Smith, the world champion in the 200 meters, has also called for a quicker decision by the IOC.

The British sprinter writes on Twitter “does this mean that athletes face up to another FOUR weeks of finding ways to fit in training - whilst potentially putting ourselves, coaches, support staff and loved ones at risk just to find out they were going to be postponed anyway.”

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The Australian Olympic Committee has advised its athletes to prepare for an Olympics in 2021.

Ian Chesterman, Australia's team leader for Tokyo, says “it’s clear the games can’t be held in July."

“Our athletes have been magnificent in their positive attitude to training and preparing, but the stress and uncertainty has been extremely challenging for them," Chesterman said in a statement released Monday by the Australian Olympic Committee.

AOC chief executive Matt Carroll says Australia has athletes based overseas and training in central locations around the country.

"With travel and other restrictions this becomes an untenable situation," Carroll said.

The Canadian Olympic Committee earlier said it won't send athletes to the Tokyo Games unless they are postponed for a year, becoming the first country to threaten such a move in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

The committee sent out a statement Sunday evening saying it was willing to help the IOC search for alternatives, but that it was not safe for athletes, “their families and the broader Canadian community for athletes to continue training for these games.”

The IOC says it is considering all options. The Tokyo Games are scheduled to start July 24.

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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says a postponement of the Tokyo Olympics would be unavoidable if the games cannot be held in a complete way because of the coronavirus impact.

He was commenting on the International Olympic Committee plan to examine the situation over the next few weeks and make a decision, which could include a postponement.

Abe, speaking at a parliamentary session, ruled out the possibility of a cancellation.

Whether Tokyo can hold the Olympics as planned from July 24 has been a major international concern as the COVID-19 pandemic has spread globally.

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