The UAE's Victor Scvortov in action Image Credit: Reuters

Dubai: The General Secretary of the UAE Wrestling and Judo Federation (UAE WJF) has fully backed the joint decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the organisers to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Nasser Al Tamimi, General Secretary, UAE WJF, who is currently overseeing the training and preparation schedules for the only two athletes who have so far qualified to represent the UAE in Tokyo, told Gulf News that the decision to postpone could not have come at a more opportune moment.

Nasser Al Tamimi, General Secretary, UAE Judo and Wrestling Federation
Nasser Al Tamimi, General Secretary, UAE Judo and Wrestling Federation Image Credit: Supplied

“This is the right decision for the entire world at this moment. If they had not postponed now, then we would all be compromising our health and well-being with what is happening in the world,” Al Tamimi told Gulf News following the joint decision of the IOC and the Tokyo organisers, late on Tuesday.

Until now, just two athletes — both judokas — have officially qualified to represent the UAE at the next edition of the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Ivan Remarenco and Victor Scvortov — both judokas who shifted allegiance to the UAE from their birthland Moldova way back in 2013 — have qualified for the Tokyo Games well in advance.

Scvortov, who competes in the men’s 73kg category, has a tally of 3008 points so far, while Remarenco who is in the men’s -100kg has accumulated 747 points to make it through to Tokyo.

“It is going to be difficult for individual athletes who were hoping to go through a qualifying process from the start of the year. But now that we have a fixed time for the postponed Games [Summer of 2021], we can be hopeful of athletes re-planning their training and competition schedules so that they give themselves the best chance of qualifying for Tokyo,” Al Tamimi related.

“The issues for our two judokas are not so complex as they have both qualified and their training is not yet on full steam. They are following individual training plans at the moment in Moldova, and I feel both of them will be in a much better shape by the time the Olympics are held next year. I am sure this extension is a great thing for both our judokas as they can refocus and give themselves better medal chances,” he affirmed.

Al Tamimi, who was hand-picked to lead a judo revolution in the UAE, felt that all Olympic-related sporting activities and qualifying will get under way latest by the end of the year. “The world will first need to get back into a normal groove and only after that the various sports federations will be able to think about the qualifying rounds. At this moment, I doubt too many athletes in the world are ready either physically or mentally to participate and be at their best for Tokyo,” Al Tamimi noted.

“Postponing the Olympics is the best way forward and I agree with the organisers and the IOC. The great news is that all federations are united in their approach of keeping the well-being of athletes at the forefront. I feel the end of the year would be a reasonable time frame to get the qualifying process under way,” he added.

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