Champion calls for Games to go ahead

2021-01-26 12:06:57

Katerina Stefanidi of Greece competes in the women's pole vault during the Weltklasse Zurich Inspiration Games amidst the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on July 09, 2020 in Walnut, California. [Photo/Agencies] Olympic pole vault champion Katerina Stefanidi has spoken out strongly in favor of going ahead with the Tokyo Games, nearly a year after she led calls to postpone the event over the coronavirus pandemic. Stefanidi, of Greece, told Japan's Kyodo News agency that it would be better to hold the Olympics without fans than not at all, adding that she thought athletes were overwhelmingly in favor of competing. A surge in coronavirus cases around the world has renewed doubts over the postponed 2020 Olympics, which are scheduled to start in July. With Tokyo under a state of emergency, polls indicate plunging support in Japan. "I think if we have to have the Olympics without spectators, I would prefer that than not having the Games at all," Stefanidi, who is a member of World Athletics' Athletes' Commission, was quoted as saying. Stefanidi had voiced concerns for athletes' safety before the International Olympic Committee took the unprecedented decision to postpone the Games last March.