Olympic dreams shattered by Covid-19
NEWS: Australia has pulled out of this year’s Tokyo Olympics amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The news means Australia’s Sevens teams will not feature in the 2020 showpiece.
Instead, Rugby Australia (RA) announced the Sevens teams would begin their annual leave period, which normally begins in July or August, immediately.
The teams will shift their planning towards the 2020-21 World Series and a 2021 Olympic season.
World Rugby had already moved to postpone the remainder of the World Series season this year and the Olympic news means that Australia’s Sevens players were facing months of training with no rugby.
Players will be stood down on annual leave for the next four weeks, ending any hopes of normalcy resuming in the Sevens sphere.
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Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle said in a statement that the organisation supported the AOC stance.
“Whilst this is disappointing for both of our Australian Sevens teams, Rugby Australia supports the announcement by the Australian Olympic Committee to provide clarity for athletes preparing for the Olympic Games in Tokyo,” she said.
“We have been in discussion with all players and staff from both programs and with the remainder of the current Sevens World Series season suspended until later in the year, we will move our players’ annual leave forward to commence from tomorrow.
“As you would expect there are a number of disappointed athletes and staff across both programs, but this decision is in the best interests of the individual athletes and the wider community’s health.
“Rugby Australia will work with both teams to ensure they can be in the best possible position to live their Olympic dream in 2021.”
Australia joined Canada in deciding not to send a team to an Olympics this year.
Source: Rugbycomau & AAP
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