The British Sailing Team for the Tokyo Olympic Games is facing a rerun of 2020 with the latest rise in worldwide Covid-19 deaths, now at over 2 million.
Current active cases worldwide stand at over 25 million with a new peaks of 839,390 of daily cases on 8 January, and 16,555 deaths recorded on 13 January 2021.
This recent surge in coronavirus cases and deaths has triggered increased international travel restrictions and internal lockdowns in many countries.
And despite the ‘elite sport’ exemption in the UK and some other countries, sailing events in Europe and Worldwide are likely to be postponed or cancelled at short notice over the coming months.
The Tokyo 2020 Games have already been postponed a year and rescheduled to take place from 24 July to 34 August 2021, with the Enoshima Pre Olympic sailing event set for 8 to 15 June.
The IOC are keen for the Tokyo Games to go ahead, but it is a difficult call for Japan’s government, with mounting opposition in Tokyo to the event.
The city has a one-month state of emergency at present following a surge in coronavirus cases and deaths.
In an interview with the BBC, Sir Keith Mills, former chief executive of London 2012, thought it unlikely that the Games would take place this summer, citing the surging level of the pandemic around the world.
The International Olympic Organisation is expected to make a final decision by the end of March.
Before the Games, the British Sailing Team, like other national sailing teams, would expect to compete at a number of international Olympic class events, in their build up to the Tokyo Games.
Coming up soon are the 470 Worlds (5 Mar), the RS:X Europeans (7 Mar) in Vilamoura, Portugal, the Olympic classes event in Mallorca, and the Princess Sofia Regatta (26 Mar).
But with Europe experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases and deaths it is not known if these or later events in April and May will take place.
A problem now faced by Olympic Performance Manager Mark Robinson . . . How does he deliver his team to the Games at peak fitness and ready to produce the performance of their sailing careers?
Another delay would put the present team selections in doubt but make any realistic changes difficult without suitable international events to compare performance.
This lack of opportunity for competition and training especially hits the less well-off countries, who lack the high level training facilities and back-room teams to organise the massive logistics of modern top level sailing.
But if the Games are to be a mere shadow of the high-quality spectacle expected, is there really any point in continuing?
A clean break and preperation for the Paris 2024 Games is looking the likely solution.