Team GB’s top racewalker Tom Bosworth may not travel to the Olympic Games this summer, if we do not see positive changes in the Coronavirus crisis developing around the world.
“If the Games say they are to go ahead and we find ourselves in this same environment still, then the situation is likely to be much worse and I’d not be leaving the safety of my home with my family,” Bosworth told The Sportsman. “However, I would feel comfortable traveling because I am confident with the extreme measures we are seeing now, positive changes will eventually follow.”
With the virus spreading, sport cancelled and several countries on total lockdown, at this moment it is difficult to envisage an Olympic Games taking place although there are still four months until the biggest show on earth is set to begin. After a stellar start to the season, the 30-year-old has had his season stopped by the Coronavirus as the sporting world has ground to a halt.
“I’m incredibly frustrated,” he continued. “I’m in great shape and have prepared perfectly. I have opened my season with two British records. But I can’t be frustrated with anyone, it’s no one's fault we are where we are, I need to channel that into my training, which stands to be very lonely over the next few months.”
Financially this virus has also left the three-time World Record holder vulnerable, as he relies on prize money, appearances and various media fees to earn himself a living. With races cancelled and no certainty for the future, he, like many, is concerned about his finances.
“I’ve lost out of three of my main European races, as well as an altitude training camp in St Moritz, Switzerland. I have no potential earning opportunities either as both races which included prize money and appearances, Q&A’s have all been cancelled. Leaving me training from home, not able to get the real quality from my sessions and leaving me feeling a bit financially vulnerable.”
Japan’s Olympic minister stated once again this week that the country are preparing for a "complete Olympics" with spectators present and with four months to go, Bosworth believes this is achievable.
“I believe it can be realistic, but we won’t know that until these next few weeks have passed,” the Olympian said. “But by the end of April we will start to know what May and June will look like, and it’s essential that by then people are able to safely get back to normal life and if so we are able to start training and competing in plenty of time.”
Both the International Olympic Committee and the Japanese Olympic minister have come under scrutiny given the Olympic Games is one of the few sporting events that have not been postponed yet. Lord Sebastien Coe defended that decision telling BBC Sport: "Let's not make a precipitous decision when we don't have to four months out. If you had to ease that date, you'd have to ease it. It is possible. Anything is possible."
Bosworth feels it is the athletes they are putting the most pressure onto as training schedules have been heavily disrupted ahead of the Games, although safety is the primary concern for everyone involved.
“I personally don’t feel they are putting anyone in danger,” he told The Sportsman. “They are putting athletes under an extreme amount of pressure as every athlete would want to give 100% of their effort and time into preparing for an Olympics Games which just isn’t possible right now.
"If the Games are to go ahead in the summer, then the majority of our global society needs to be able to travel safely and allow the athlete village to remain healthy. A lot can change between now and then, however, this is a big ask.
“A few days ago I was confident the Games would go ahead successfully,” Bosworth replied when asked whether he thought the Games would take place. “But it’s too hard to predict at this point. Things must start changing around at the earliest point for this.
"There are statistics from South Korea and China that would indicate this is possible, but there are also experts suggesting otherwise. I hope we can all work together to overcome this before too many people lose their jobs, or more importantly, their health.”