Coronavirus: Olympic boss Thomas Bach says talks with athletes 'constructive'

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach insists the Tokyo Olympics remain on course to take place as planned, after a conference call with 220 athlete representatives from around the world.

Bach admitted he was "confronted with many questions" over qualification and coronavirus restrictions, but says the talks were "constructive".

With the Games still four months away, Bach maintains the Olympics will go ahead as scheduled on July 24, despite the cancellation of other sports events around the globe, including Tokyo qualifying events. 

"We just had a great call with 220 athletes' representatives from all around the world," Bach said. 

"It was very constructive and gave us a lot of insight, because we said we will continue to be very realistic in our analysis.

"We were confronted with many questions concerning the qualification system and the restrictions being in place now, but we were also very constructive in a way that it was in consideration of the way to Tokyo.

"Everybody realised that we still have more than four months to go and we will address this action, and we will keep acting responsibly in the interest of the athletes."

The calls followed criticism from several athletes over plans to press ahead with the Olympics, as originally scheduled.

IOC Athletes' Commission member and four-time Olympic ice hockey gold medallist Hayley Wickenheiser tweeted that the IOC's insistence on forging ahead was "irresponsible".

Olympic pole vault champion Katerina Stefanidi echoed Wickenheiser's comments, accusing the IOC of leaving athletes "at risk".

British world champion heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson said she feels "under pressure", after lockdown laws made maintaining her training routine "impossible". 

British four-time Olympic rowing champion Matthew Pinsent criticised Bach's comments, calling for the Games to be called off. 

"I'm sorry, Mr Bach, but this is tone-deaf," Pinsent tweeted. "The instinct to keep safe is not compatible with athlete training, travel and focus that a looming Olympics demands of athletes, spectators and organisers. 

"Keep them safe. Call it off."

Spanish Olympic Committee president Alejandro Blanco told Reuters he would prefer this year's Games to be postponed, because his country's athletes are not able to train.

Earlier, the IOC had warned "no solution will be ideal" in preparing for Tokyo 2020.

More than 214,000 people globally have been infected by coronavirus, with more than 8500 deaths. More than 83,000 have recovered.