The International Olympic Committee has told athletes "no solution will be ideal" after a number of competitors raised concerns over its plans to press ahead with Tokyo 2020 despite the coronavirus pandemic.

A number of athletes have spoken out, questioning advice from the IOC asking them to prepare "as best they can" for the Games despite social contact and travel being placed under severe restrictions across the world because of the virus.

On Tuesday on RTÉ 2fm's Game On, Irish 400 metre runner Brian Gregan highlighted the qualification issues many aspiring Olympians will face following postponements of race meetings and qualifying events for the Games.

But the IOC said: "This is an exceptional situation which requires exceptional solutions.

"The IOC is committed to finding a solution with the least negative impact for the athletes, while protecting the integrity of the competition and the athletes' health.

"No solution will be ideal in this situation, and this is why we are counting on the responsibility and solidarity of the athletes."

Irish former Olympian Sonia O'Sullivan had told RTÉ Radio One's Morning Ireland on Tuesday that, in her view, the best solution was to postpone the Games until 2021.

Olympic pole vault champion Katerina Stefanidi said the IOC was risking the health of athletes, who feel obliged to continue training despite advice to reduce contact.

Hayley Wickenheiser, an IOC member, said the organisation's conviction that the Games would go ahead was "insensitive and irresponsible given the state of humanity".

The former Canada ice hockey star added: "This crisis is bigger even than the Olympics."

The IOC had insisted on Tuesday that it was fully committed to staging the Games and with four months to go there was no need for any drastic decision to be taken.