Already-qualified athletes to keep spots at Tokyo 2021 Games

ATHENS - All athletes who had qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will keep their spots for the Games next year following their postponement due to the coronavirus pandemic, the International Olympic Committee said on Friday. The IOC and Japanese organisers postponed the July 24-Aug 9 event earlier this week but confirmed that those among the 11,000 athletes set to compete in Tokyo who had already earned their spot would keep it. The IOC also said that the amount of spots allocated for each sport at the Games would remain the same next year. “The 57% that are qualified do remain in place and the goal is to maintain the same athletes quotas across the different sports,” an IOC official said. The virus has wreaked havoc with sports schedules and forced the cancellation of many Olympic qualifiers across many sports. Athletes have also been restricted in their training due to measures taken to stop the spread. Though a huge blow to Japan, which has invested $12 billion in the run-up to the Games, the decision to postpone was a relief to thousands of athletes fretting over training with the world heading into lockdown to fight a disease that has killed thousands of people.

James Anderson ‘hungry’ to keep playing for England

LONDON - Seamer James Anderson says he is still hungry to play for England and has no intention of letting the coronavirus outbreak bring an end to his international career. Anderson, test cricket’s most prolific fast bowler with 584 wickets, has not played since January when he suffered a rib injury in South Africa. England’s two-match series in Sri Lanka was postponed earlier this month and the first test of the summer season against West Indies scheduled for June 4 is likely to be pushed back with all domestic action suspended until at least May 28. “I’m still hungry to play, I’ve still got ambitions to play for England,” Anderson, 37, told reporters. “So I think that’s going to keep me driven at home trying to keep fit, so that whenever it is we play again I’m ready to go. “Whether it’s this summer or the winter my plan is to try and get back into that team.” England will also embark on a five-test series in India in January next year. The England and Wales Cricket Board says it is working on a “range of options” to resume cricket, with domestic white-ball action expected to take priority. Anderson said he was willing to play in the inaugural The Hundred 100-ball competition and the domestic T20 Vitality Blast if it was the only way he could keep fit for when England return to test cricket. “I’d much rather be playing competitive cricket than not. But we will cross that bridge when we come to it,” said Anderson, who currently has a mentoring role with Hundred franchise Manchester Originals.