DUAL Olympian Brad Kahlefeldt has branded it "crazy" the International Olympic Committee could still hold the Tokyo Games this year, adamant it must be postponed so the best can compete and to cater to athlete's mental well being.
The IOC is coming under increasing pressure to cancel the Olympics until next year with several big sporting bodies, including the Australian Olympic Committee, officially expressing their opposition to it proceeding as planned in late July.
They announced on Monday they will make a final decision within the next four weeks, but Kahlefeldt insisted the coronavirus pandemic means postponing until 2021 is the only way to maintain the Olympic's integrity as the world's biggest sports event.
Now retired Wagga triathlete Kahlefeldt, who won the 2006 Commonwealth Games gold medal and competed at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, is now a coach and said many athletes are unable to train properly due to lockdown measure.
"I just can't see it being on, they need to postpone it. It seems crazy to even be planning like it's going ahead," Kahlefeldt said.
"As an athlete I went to a couple of Olympics and I would want an Olympics where all the nations and best competitors are there. Right now it's hard to see that happening and as an athlete you want to compete against the best in the world's biggest event without an asterisk beside it.
:"It's not fair on the athletes. People have to understand they've dedicated their whole life to get there and already many can't quality because events are getting cancelled.
"I know friends who have been fined for going out cycling when they're in lockdown. You understand that, but these guys are desperate to get out there and stay fit, because at this stage the Olympics are still on.
"I just think they need to make a decision soon because it's affecting everyone. There's a lot of anxiety around to have it linger on isn't good for the mental health of athletes."
The Australian Olympic Committee on Monday told athletes to prepare for a Tokyo Games in the northern summer of 2021 and that "an Australian team could not be assembled in the changing circumstances at home and abroad."
Kahlefeldt said postponing until 2021 would allow the Olympics the clear air to be the spectacle it deserved once the coronavirus threat subsides.
"I don't think having it this year is right, I think 2021 is the best outcome for this," he said.
"Hopefully all counties are over the virus, they have a vaccine for it and athletes can prepare properly. At least then the focus is on the Olympics.
"If this happened before I went to London it would have been devastating, but the coronavirus is bigger than sport."
- Those suffering acute, cold, flu-like symptoms who have recently returned from travelling or are a contact of a confirmed case are urged to be tested for the virus. To do this, call HealthDirect on 1800 0222 222 to be triaged and advised by a nurse over the phone. Alternatively, contact your GP to book an appointment and let them know in advance if you have symptoms - these might include fever, cough, runny nose or shortness of breath.
We have removed our paywall from our stories about coronavirus. This is a rapidly changing situation and we aim to make sure our readers are as informed as possible. If you would like to support our journalists you can subscribe here.