The Athletics Association, a "unified voice" for professional track and field athletes, has called for this year's Olympic Games in Tokyo to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The statement comes on the back of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) saying yesterday it will reach a final decision on Tokyo 2020 in four weeks, with postponement of the Games set to be assessed.
It supports the position of World Athletics, track and field's global governing body, which has also urged for a postponement of the Games.
The Athletics Association is led by President Christian Taylor, a double Olympic and four-time world champion in men's triple jump, while fellow American Emma Coburn, the women's 3,000 metres steeplechase world champion in 2017 and Olympic bronze medallist at Rio 2016, is the vice-president.
In a joint statement based on the results from more than 4,000 track and field athletes that responded to a survey, they said the Athletics Association is "calling on the International Olympic Committee to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympics".
"What's more, we're imploring the IOC to announce the postponement of Tokyo 2020 Olympics much sooner than in four weeks' time," the statement adds.
"Whilst we appreciate being told about the new time frame, we feel it's unfair to ask athletes to continue to live and train in this limbo.
"Athletes are risking their health as well as the health of their coaches and families, and indeed wider society, to continue to prepare for an Olympic Games that is likely to be postponed.
"The Olympics is the pinnacle for all competitors in the sport of athletics, but asking athletes to risk their physical and mental health preparing for an Olympic Games in the middle of a pandemic that is crippling the world is unfair, immoral and shows a huge lack of empathy."
❗️🗣️❗️— TheAthleticsAssociation (@WeAreTheSport) March 23, 2020
We surveyed thousands of Track & Field athletes all over the world and it's clear that the athletes overwhelmingly want Tokyo 2020 to be postponed.
We are calling on @iocmedia to announce the postponement now.
FULL STATEMENT@Taylored2jump @emmajcoburn pic.twitter.com/FjncOAmHOX
Seventy-two per cent of respondents in the survey said Tokyo 2020 should not go ahead as planned due to the cornavirus pandemic, while 78 per cent said the event should be postponed.
Only 22 per cent said Tokyo 2020 should be cancelled, while 87 per cent said their preparation had been adversely affected.
Yesterday, insidethegames learned World Athletics had called on the IOC to postpone Tokyo 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a letter to IOC counterpart Thomas Bach, seen by insidethegames, World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said Tokyo 2020 taking place as planned in July and August is "neither feasible nor desirable" amid growing international concern.
"I write to you to request that the Games be moved," Coe wrote in the letter.
Coe cited competition fairness, the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on training and the increased risk of athletes suffering injuries as the three main reasons why the organisation believes the Olympics should be postponed.
World Athletics, the first International Federation to urge the IOC to move the event, "remains available and at the ready to help secure a new date for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games," Coe added.
The double Olympic 1,500m champion said postponing Tokyo 2020 would put an end to the "real anguish" and "uncertainty" being felt by athletes due to the pandemic and its impact on their training and qualification for the Games.