Cameroon striker Njoya Nchout Ajara has backed the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decision to postpone the 2020 Games in Tokyo, and she believes the coronavirus-enforced rescheduling will give athletes a better opportunity to thrive next year.
Amid increasing pressure and widespread disruption following the COVID-19 outbreak, Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, and IOC president Thomas Bach announced their decision to push the Olympic Games back to the first half of 2021.
"The postponement was inevitable considering the serious threat of this epidemic," Indomitable Lionesses forward and African Women's Footballer of the Year nominee Ajara told ESPN.
"The world's ongoing battle is to push back COVID-19, and it's hard for everyone, as well as athletes like us.
"The Games are a great party of sports, and they couldn't be held in the conditions we're living in currently.
"I salute this decision by the IOC, which will give the opportunity to different countries to better prepare after the pandemic in order to bring beautiful colours to the party in Tokyo."
Various athletes -- including African competitors who have returned home from overseas training due to the global crisis -- have expressed concerns this week about how ongoing restrictions on movement and travel are affecting their preparation.
Ajara, who has represented the Indomitable Lionesses at two World Cups and featured for Cameroon's women in their first Olympic appearance at the 2012 Games in London, also said that athletes' build-up to the tournament must not be undermined by restrictions imposed in light of the pandemic.
"The Olympic Games are an incredible moment for any athlete or sports fan in general," she said.
"It's one of the most beautiful events in the sporting world."
Cameroon aren't yet sure of their place in the women's football tournament in Tokyo, having been defeated by debutantes Zambia on away goals following a 4-4 draw across a two-legged double-header played in March.
They now must play South America's second-placed team from qualification -- Chile -- in a two-legged play-off that was scheduled originally for next month.
"To participate in 2012 was a marvellous experience for me," Ajara said.
"And this is why we will give everything in order to not miss this edition."
Ajara, 27, was quarantined in Norway, where she plays for Oslo-based Vålerenga in the Toppserien, as a precautionary measure after returning from Cameroon's qualifying defeat by Zambia, but has subsequently confirmed that she is in good health.