South African athletes have been urged to take advantage of the Olympic Games postponement by working on their preparations during this time.

Prior to making a decision to postponed the 2020 Olympics on Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the host country Japan had been under pressure from athletes and coaches to make the call due to the coronavirus.

After consultation between the IOC and the host city, Tokyo and Japanese government a decision was taken to postponed the Olympics and Paralympic games to next year (2021) but it was agreed that they will keep Tokyo 2020 tagline.

In the audio below, the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) board member Khaya Majeke weighs in on the importance of this decision, especially around preparations:

Majeke says financially if the Olympic games were to go ahead this year they were also going to be too costly for the National Olympic Committees (NOC’s), especially in Africa, and some countries were not going to cope.

In the audio below, he said the COVID-19 pandemic was not only going to be costly but also disruptive to their programmes leading to the Olympics.

Most countries around the world have embarked on the lockdown route as they aim to slow down the spread of COVID-19 or flatten the curve.

President Cyril Ramaphosa also announced earlier this week that as from Friday morning South Africa will be on lockdown for 21 days. Majeke says this was going to make things difficult for athletes to train.

The postponed of the Olympics to 2021 presents some new challenges especially scheduling clashes with the world championship events of the two biggest events at the Olympics, athletics (track and field) (August 2021) and swimming (July 2021).

Both their world champs were scheduled for next year and there’s also the Euro Championships (football) in June next year.

In the audio below, IOC and Tokyo were criticised for delaying this decision but Majeke says there were other critical and commercial factors to be considered here.

Going to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and the London 2012 games in London, Majeke as the project manager at Sascoc.

In the audio below, he says the postponement of the games is going to help SASCOC to regroup and prepare better.

Report by Velile Mnyandu