Athletes to wait for vaccine: Coe

Athletes to wait for vaccine: Coe

LONDON • Healthy athletes should take their place in the Covid-19 vaccine queue behind people with more pressing needs despite events such as the Olympic Games looking set to be highly dependent on competitors arriving free from the virus, said the head of World Athletics Sebastian Coe.

Most athletes in their 20s and 30s, across all sports, would be just about last in line in most countries when it comes to handing out the vaccine.

But the pressure to create a Covid-safe environment at sporting events has raised the question of whether they should be treated as a special case.

Coe trod a careful line when asked about the issue at a media conference on Friday.

“We have to be sensitive here – there are many claims on that priority,” he said.

“Most of us are dependent on our front-line workers and our emergency services and we also recognise that there are vulnerable people in the community and we want to make sure that we look after them as much as possible.

“I’m not sure that it is for sport to be pressing the case for fit young people. I would like, on the other hand, that when the vaccine does become available and that the athletes have the opportunity to make use of it that they do.”

Coe was also confident next year’s July 23-Aug 8 Tokyo Games would go ahead.

“I was in Tokyo a week ago and spent 48 very intensive hours talking to the organising committee and the government,” he said.

“There is a cast-iron determination to stage the Games, though there is a recognition that we are still in uncertain territory.”