Alyce Wood and Alyssa Bull in action during the K2-500m at the 2020 Paddle Australia Canoe Sprint Championships. Photo: JGRImages
Alyce Wood and Alyssa Bull in action during the K2-500m at the 2020 Paddle Australia Canoe Sprint Championships. Photo: JGRImages

AOC decision ‘bittersweet’ but right call: Wood

KAYAKING: Rio Olympian Alyce Wood says a postponement of the Tokyo Games would be “bittersweet” but ultimately the right call.

On Monday, the Australian Olympic Commission told its athletes in a statement to start planning for an Olympic Games to be held in the northern summer of 2021.

The AOC held an executive board meeting via teleconference and unanimously agreed that an Australian team could not be assembled in the changing circumstances at home and abroad with the growing coronavirus pandemic.

At time of print a postponement was yet to be officially confirmed by the International Olympic Committee but seemed inevitable.

“It’s clear the Games can’t be held in July,” Australian Team Chef de Mission for Tokyo Ian Chesterman said.

“Our athletes have been magnificent in their positive attitude to training and preparing, but the stress and uncertainty has been extremely challenging for them.

“We are aware that for many such a postponement will present a range of new issues. But when the world does come together at the Tokyo Olympic Games they can be a true celebration of sport and humanity.”

Sunshine Coast athlete Alyce Wood, who had provisionally secured her spot on the national team for the Tokyo Games, was content with AOC’s decision.

“As athletes we want to be there and race for our country but we want to be there under the best circumstances and if the authorities or powers that be decide that it’s not safe for us or for the world for such large group of people to be there then it’s definitely the right call I think,” Wood said,

“It’s a bittersweet moment.

“Obviously for us and everyone at the moment health is the priority and we were just waiting for direction from the powers that be to make a decision and when health is first the rest doesn’t really matter. Which is totally cool with me and that’s fine.

“But, obviously it’s bittersweet because the Olympic Games is something that you dream about and work so hard for and sacrifice so much for.”

With the AOC making the call for athletes to shift their targets to 2021, Wood was unsure at the time how her training would change.

“It’s hard to tell what’s next, we’re still waiting for a call from our sport (body) and to hear their plans and obviously that will unfold in the next few days but at the moment we sit and wait,” she said,

“I’ll be going to get my kayak and I still love paddling so I’ll still be going out and just wait for what the actual plan moving forward is.”

Regardless of what the official date may be in the future, she was still fired up to represent her country on the Olympic stage.

“It’d be really cool if once all of this has died down and we find a vaccine or whatever it is that we can use the Olympic Games as a time for the world to just celebrate together and I think this is bigger than sport,” she said.

“But, at the end of the day sport can be used as something to bring people together so I think that’d be really special.”



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