26 Mar 2020 | Industry news |

Golfers' Olympic dreams delayed a year

by Mark Hayes

The Olympic flame recently arrived in Japan and will stay lit but in limbo until next year.
The Olympic flame recently arrived in Japan and will stay lit but in limbo until next year.

A growing international chorus around Covid-19 and its impact has forced the postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games.

This means all Australian Olympic athletes, including the golfers who were poised to qualify, must wait a year until the northern summer of 2021.

Olympic bosses in Australia and Canada earlier this week became the first to formally announce their plans that athletes wouldn’t attend in July and August as scheduled.

Golf Australia high performance general manager Brad James, the Australian Olympic golf team’s co-ordinator, said the subsequent decision to postpone was made in the interests of all athletes and officials.

“There has been so much going on that it’s hard to process, but what has never been lost to anyone is the importance of safety and fairness to all athletes, including our golfers,” James said.

“It’s obviously disappointing that we won’t get to see them in Tokyo in July and August, but now we can work towards putting our best team back on course in 2021.”

The Australian Olympic Committee has been working feverishly to ensure the fairest outcomes for all athletes involved – whether chosen or still qualifying – with the Australian Olympic team. Included in these discussions is the best way to rationalise qualification processes.

In short, those who have already qualified will remain so for next year.

Others yet to formally qualify, including the golfers, must await decisions to be made between the AOC, the International Olympic Committee and the respective governing bodies for each sport, in golf’s case the International Golf Federation.

James said the new process for golf would be made known publicly as soon as it is reached.

“Obviously there are a lot of factors to consider and, of course, there’s all the decisions around the Covid-19 situation as well,” he said.

“But I’m sure our athletes will have a path laid out in front of them sooner than later.”

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