Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Max Whitlock calls for patience over decision amid coronavirus crisis

By David McDaidBBC Olympic sports reporter
Max Whitlock in action during Rio 2016
Max Whitlock won two gold medals at the Rio Olympics

Britain's double Olympic champion Max Whitlock is calling for patience as athletes await a decision on whether the Tokyo Games go ahead as planned amid the coronavirus crisis.

The 27-year-old Rio 2016 pommel and floor gold medallist feels there is no rush to make definitive call on a potential postponement or cancellation.

The 2020 Olympics are due to be held in Japan from 24 July to 9 August.

"The decision will come but it just can't come right now," said Whitlock.

"As athletes we have to be very patient.

"There's still a little bit of time. It might be in a month's time or two months' time but whenever it is, we'll know."

Several athletes have voiced their concerns over the uncertainty surrounding the Games going ahead on schedule.

Some are unable to train because of facilities being closed or worried they are putting themselves at risk if they ignore social-distancing advice.

Whitlock, who is doing a 14-day coronavirus isolation workoutexternal-link for people to follow on his social media, believes it is important keep focused as the International Olympic Committee maintains the Games will still begin on 24 July as planned.

"It's not ideal. It's not going to be perfect for everybody in this situation," Whitlock, who won his third world pommel title in October last year, told BBC Sport.

"I have to look at the facts. It's going ahead and my mindset is to train like I would normally to go to the Olympics.

"As soon as you think it's not going ahead, that's all motivation gone in one instant for a lot of athletes.

"If I was to give my advice, it's that the Olympics is going ahead - so think that way, prepare that way and that way we'll make the best of the situation we're all in."

Whitlock conceded that it is a matter of time before his gym facility in Basildon closes to the public in order to slow the spread of infection - so he is preparing to install his pommel horse at his home.

"I was thinking in my garage but I don't think it's got the height," he said. "I might be circling outside with the wind blowing and that might be good practice - you never know.

"It will be difficult but it's about doing what you can do in the situation."

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