RIO DE JANEIRO, March 24 (Xinhua) -- Brazilian sailing great Robert Scheidt has praised a decision to postpone the Tokyo Olympics until next year because of the global coronavirus outbreak.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Tuesday that the Games, originally scheduled to run from July 24 to August 9 this year, would be held in the northern hemisphere summer of 2021 at the latest.
Scheidt, Brazil's most successful Olympian with five medals, including two gold, said the decision would allow the world to focus on saving lives.
"Due to the unprecedented situation caused by COVID-19, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) made the right decision to postpone the Tokyo Olympics," he said. "Right now the most important thing is to think about life and fight to overcome the pandemic."
The 46-year-old secured a berth at his seventh Olympics by qualifying for Tokyo's laser class at the men's world championships in Melbourne last month.
Sao Paulo-born Scheidt won gold in the laser category at the Atlanta 1996 and Athens 2004 Olympics while also claiming silver at the Sydney 2000 and Beijing 2008 Games. He claimed bronze in London in 2012 and finished fourth in Rio four years ago.
Brazil's two-time surfing world champion Gabriel Medina also applauded the decision by Japan's government and the IOC.
Medina, the World Surf League men's champion in 2014 and 2018, is one of the favorites to win gold in the sport's Olympic debut.
"Health and the well-being of the world's population are the top priority now," Medina said in a video posted on social media. "I'm focused on my goals. As soon as this is over and life goes back to normal I want to return to my training routine, like thousands of other athletes."