Olympic News – IRELAND

Olympic Federation of Ireland Statement

23 March 2020 

In recent weeks, nations around the world have been forced to rethink how they operate due to the global pandemic caused by Covid-19. Like all areas of society, sportspeople have had to adjust and adapt to these new norms.

The OFI is today contacting its Tokyo bound member federations, to get their views as follows:

1) The current environment for their sport at elite level for those athletes tracking towards Tokyo

2) Restrictions to the training environment for their elite athletes

3) A general qualitative update on the current mood and any concerns that they have

4) On the basis that the OFI feels that Games are likely to be postponed, what is their current position on halting training sessions temporarily at this point?

Through the OFI Athletes Commission, contact will also be made with all athletes on the long list for Tokyo to assess the training restrictions of Irish athletes and their environments, as well as establishing a gauge of the major concerns of Irish athletes right now in this unprecedented situation.

The information will then be used to provide a country by country update that the IOC said it will be asking from all National Olympic Committees.

Speaking today OFI President Sarah Keane said,

“We have heard the latest update from the IOC regarding the Games, and we await in due course further information from them. However, we need to consider what’s right for our athletes, coaches, federations and all involved in supporting the system in Ireland at this time. This does include considering if our potential Olympians can and/or should continue to engage in organised training for the foreseeable future. 

“This may go against the grain of what they are used to doing day in day out, however at this time all options must be considered which we will do in conjunction with our Member Federations, athletes, Sport Ireland and other stakeholders. We can and are providing input into the IOC as the ultimate decision making body for the 2020 Olympic Games. However, we can make decisions in Ireland for the best of Team Ireland and all involved.”

Speaking today, Team Ireland Chef de Mission, Tricia Heberle said,

“Our National Federations, our Performance Directors and athletes have responded incredibly well in the face of the Covid 19 pandemic. On the premise that Tokyo 2020 will be postponed, we now need to get their input before taking next steps.

Olympic athletes who require any additional support or guidance at this time should contact the OFI Athletes’ Commission Support officer Heather Boyle – heather@olympicsport.ie – these details were provided as part of a communication to athletes on the Tokyo 2020 long list last week.