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Postponing Games saves athletes from mental turmoil: Sebastian Coe

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said yesterday that the decision to postpone this year's Tokyo Olympics because of the coronavirus pandemic has saved athletes from "mental turmoil".

The two-time Olympic 1,500m champion supported the move to push the Games back to 2021 and said competitors would have been placed in an impossible position if the event had been left to start on July 24 as originally scheduled.

They would have been tempted to continue training despite large parts of the world being in lockdown due to the outbreak, which has now killed more than 31,000 people.

"We didn't want to have the athletes in a position where they were countering government advice, maybe even breaking the law," Coe told talkSPORT.

"In the back of their minds was always that concern... that they ran the risk of effectively infecting themselves, their families... and we just wanted to take them out of that mental turmoil as quickly as we possibly could... sport, on this occasion, had to take a back seat." - AFP