During this troubling time lots of changes are expected to be made in the near future. There is a strong possibility that the Paralympics will be postponed due to this ongoing pandemic. National governing bodies have already came out and said that they will not send athletes to the Games unless it is postponed.
Rollt. is committed to regularly updating our audience the best we can as we want to promote happiness and positivity to support the wheelchair basketball community whilst our great sport cannot be played at the moment.
We also want to provide the best possible outlet for athletes and fans. This page will be regularly updated with statements from athletes around the world regarding the ongoing situation. The statements are gathered by our passionate Scottish reporter, Dylan Cummings!
Shaun Norris (3,0): “I’m sure all of us want to play sport at the highest level and to represent our country at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. But with the current global issue with COVID-19 I support the AOC and Paralympics Australia on the decisions they have made. Everyone’s health and well-being should be the priority.”
Mike Frogley: “Cancelling and not sending teams is the right decision. The COC and CPC have placed athlete health and public health first. The other way is a risk not worth taking given the benefit. Postponement of the games would be better at this time. The goal of the Games has always been to use sport to bring people together to see the best of what we can be. Bringing people together and having their health compromised would run contrary to that. I completely support the COC and CPC decision and appreciate their leadership in this difficult time.”
Patrick Anderson (4,5): “Disappointed that we won’t be back in Tokyo and Nagoya as soon as we’d hoped. But everyone is trying to make the wisest, most responsible decisions in a complex, evolving situation, and that includes the CPC and other sport leaders in Canada. Some of those decisions will be bold. I am glad they affirmed the IOC’s commitment to not canceling the Games. Not if, but when. We’ll figure it out together.”
Elodie Tessier (2,5): “Honestly I don’t really know where to start. But it has been a roller coaster of emotions for the last couple weeks, and I guess we should have been ready for that decision to happen… but how to prepare mentally for this? It has not been easy to digest and as much as I agree with the decision of the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC), backed by their Athletes’ Commissions, National Sports Organizations and the Government of Canada are making right now, it is definitely difficult to take in. When I sign up for the 4 years at the beginning of 2017, no one signs up for that kind of situation, and it is really sad that it has to end up this way, but the health of athletes, coaches, staffs, fans, volunteers are way more important. I really hope everyone is making their effort in this pandemic. Stay home. The government are making action to protect us we should definitely listen to them. I was really excited to compete at my first Paralympic Games and it is really disappointing but I will keep playing the sport that I love once everything will be better and hopefully they will postpone the Paralympics, so we can compete and learn from that situation right now.”
Michael Auprince (4,0): “What is happening in the world right now transcends sport. As much as I would love to play in Tokyo later this year, the health of the athletes, their friends and families and the fans of Olympic and Paralympic sport have to be the number one priority and the Australia Olympic committee and Paralympics Australia have made the right call. That being said, the Australian team is being told to prepare for the games to be held in 2021 as a potential postponement seems the most likely outcome in this scenario.”
Ella Sabljak (1,0): “It’s definitely not an easy decision to make. The health and well-being of our athletes and staff is our top priority, as well as the family and friends who would be going over in support. Obviously there hasn’t been a decision made yet on whether the Olympics and Paralympics will be postponed, but us as athletes, we have to be able to control the controllable – which means keep on training and doing what we can to keep physically and mentally well whilst in self-isolation. We’re all in this together, make sure you check up on a mate!”
Arinn Young (4,5): “You know it’s really hard as an athlete to put so many hours into our training to not compete at Tokyo. I just feel sad for all us athletes and staff that were gearing up for it. I do respect their decision because it’s putting the athletes’ health first. Hopefully Tokyo is postponed and we have more time to gear up as a team. This is only going to make us better and stronger.”
Vincent Dallaire (1,5): “Obviously it’s disappointing right now, training for a full cycle and not getting to go (unless it’s postponed) but ultimately I think it’s the right decision for our health and safety.”
Annabelle Lindsay (4,5): “As an athlete I respect, understand and support the tough decisions that have been made by both the Australian Paralympic and Olympic committee. The current Coronavirus pandemic has halted the training of most athletes around the World and has caused a lot of qualification and classification tournaments to be canceled. Therefore, I agree that it’s the best interest of the athletes and the broader community to postpone the games to a future date when athletes can adequately prepare for the greatest sporting event in the World. In this time of uncertainty, what’s most important right now is for the international wheelchair basketball community to come together and support each other the best we can.”
Joey Johnson (4,5): “Although it is a difficult decision to make and to hear. I believe that the COC and CPC have made the best decision possible in regards to the safety and health of our athletes and staff. With training environments being unsafe, compromised or just unavailable, it would be impossible for Canadian athletes to prepare to be at their best come the Games in Tokyo. Hopefully the IOC will see it the same way and we will get to have the best competition possible in 2021 in Tokyo.”
Colin Higgins (4,5): “So obviously the news broke last night and initially myself and the guys were pretty gutted about it. It makes sense and we support the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committees decision, but it is still tough to see what you have been working hard for taken away. With that said, we hope we can be leaders for other countries and the IOC to follow suit. This is a global pandemic, and it is bigger than sport. Moving forward we are making the best of the situation at home and adapting our training the best we can under the circumstances. Hope everyone stays safe!”
“Statement collector”: Dylan Cummings | Photo: Steffie Wunderl