Australian Chef de Mission for Tokyo 2020 Ian Chesterman on Wednesday told athletes to stay calm and keep preparing for the Olympics.
“Full-steam ahead for our planning at the moment,” Chesterman told reporters in Canberra in a press conference when the Australian artistic swimming team for the Olympics was announced.
“Athletes around the country, our message to them is stay calm, get on with what you can control, which is your training, and plan to be attending Tokyo on July 24.
“But we’re taking it very seriously. We are not going to just walk through the next few months avoiding the conversation … and we remain confident the Games will go ahead.”
Australia’s Health Minister Greg Hunt on Wednesday also asked the athletes to keep training as the focus at the moment.
“The Olympics are some roughly five months away, and so assessments will be made closer to the time,” Hunt told reporters in Canberra.
“However, our message to the athletes is: we will put your health and safety first, but for the moment, just keep training because our hope is that there is a very fruitful Olympics ahead of you.”
Chesterman also said Wednesday’s selection of artistic swimming team was great recognition of the persistence and determination showed by the eight athletes. Among them, four will be Olympic debutants.
“These are all athletes from a relatively small sport who have worked so hard and sacrificed a great deal to make it to Tokyo and represent Australia at the Olympic Games.”
The selection takes the announced Australian Team for Tokyo 2020 to 15 athletes of an expected 480-strong Team size, according to the Australian Olympic Committee.
Australia got 50 medals, including 17 gold, at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. At the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Australian athletes won 29 medals, eight of them gold.
On the outlook for Tokyo, Chesterman said there is no target of medal numbers for the athletes.
“A clear feedback from our athletes after Rio Olympic that’s setting a target was not helpful to them. They put enough pressure on themselves to produce their best and they didn’t find setting a target is helpful.”
“If we can help every group of athletes have their best day, we know we’re going to have a range of successes, including medals. ” Enditem