(Reuters) – Britain’s multiple world and Olympic long distance champion Mo Farah said the more people who get vaccinated against COVID-19, the greater the chance that the Tokyo Olympics will go ahead on schedule.
Farah, who won gold at the 5,000 metres and 10,000 metres at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, added he expected the July-August Games, postponed from last year, to take place.
“I think most people in a career want to go to an Olympics and take part in an Olympics. The key thing is to stay safe and see what the country can do,” Farah told talkSport radio.
“What they have said to us is basically everyone will be able to get COVID injections, and after that it’s less risk of spreading the disease. And then from there just see what happens and take one day at a time.”
It was not clear if Farah was referring specifically to athletes getting vaccinated or to the general public.
A British Olympic Association representative said: “We have not spoken to any athletes about vaccinations as we await a clearer understanding of the programme’s rollout.”
“As we have clearly stated, the priority at this time remains the vulnerable, elderly and front line workers,” it added.
World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said that he was against the concept of compulsory vaccinations and did not like the idea of athletes taking priority ahead of vulnerable people or frontline workers.
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach has said that although participants will be encouraged to get vaccinated, it will not be mandatory.
Farah will be seeking to defend his 10,000m title in Tokyo after spending the last few years focusing on the marathon.
“I think (the Games) will go ahead but at the same time, for me, I have had the experience of taking part in three Olympics and I have to see it as another race and see what happens.”
(Reporting by Rohith Nair and Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson)