WARSAW (Reuters) – Officials should consider postponing this year’s Tokyo Olympic Games because of the coronavirus epidemic to protect the health of athletes, twice Olympic silver medal-winning discus thrower Piotr Malachowski said on Friday.

“If these games get postponed and will take place this year in November or December, this will definitely be much better for athletes. They’ll be able to prepare,” Poland’s Malachowski told Reuters.

Countries including Colombia and Slovenia have called for the Games to be postponed if the coronavirus epidemic persists.

Others have said they should go ahead, with the foreign ministers of South Korea, China and Japan expressing support for Tokyo to host a complete Olympics.

Malachowski, ranked fifth on the all-time list of discus throws, said he was being forced to adapt to coronavirus restrictions, training in parking lots and in his garden.

The 36-year-old, Olympic silver medallist in 2008 and 2016, said under current conditions many athletes would not have time to prepare properly for the Olympics and postponement would prevent them from becoming “the Games of death” with risks of serious injury.

The global coronavirus outbreak has caused significant disruption around the Games, which are scheduled to run from July 24-Aug. 9.

(Reporting by Aleksandra Szmigiel, Writing by Joanna Plucinska, editing by Ed Osmond)

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