It is now official. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Japanese Government made the official statement regarding the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
IOC President Thomas Bach and Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo expressed their shared concern about the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, and what it is doing to people’s lives and the significant impact it is having on global athletes’ preparations for the Games.
“In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021,” the statement read.
According to the joint release, this was done to “safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.”
The Athletics Association has surveyed over 4,000 athletes who have overwhelmingly called for the Olympic Games to be postponed. A total of 78 per cent of athletes have called for the Olympics to be postponed and 87 per cent of respondees have said their training has been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Several sporting federations and fans have also called on the IOC to postpone the games because of the coronavirus, which has killed over 17,200 people worldwide.
The virus caused many qualifying events to be postponed or cancelled in the last two months. Some athletes are unable to train due to the containment measures in their country.
“The unprecedented and unpredictable spread of the outbreak has seen the situation in the rest of the world deteriorating. Yesterday, the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that the COVID-19 pandemic is “accelerating”. There are more than 375,000 cases now recorded worldwide and in nearly every country, and their number is growing by the hour.”
“The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present. Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020,” the joint statement concluded.
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