Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 29 May 2020

Olympic chief calls for 'vigilance and patience' ahead of Tokyo Games

Olympics postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic

World Health Organisation Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, left, and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach. AFP
World Health Organisation Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, left, and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach. AFP

Olympic chief Thomas Bach on Saturday called for vigilance and patience in preparations for the Tokyo Summer Games, postponed a year until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Bach was speaking after the International Olympic Committee he heads and the World Health Organisation, which is led by Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, signed a co-operation agreement on promoting healthy society through sport and on contributing to the prevention of non-communicable diseases.

Asked how the IOC might manage sports at Tokyo involving human-to-human contact without a vaccine having been found by then, Bach said: "We're one year and two months away from these Games, and then we will take all the necessary decisions at the right time relying on the advice of the World Health Organisation, discussing it on our joint task force.

"But I think nobody can at this moment in time really give you a reliable answer on how the world will look like in July 2021.

"So we have to be vigilant and we have to be patient at the same time to take the right measures to ensure the safe participation of everybody in the Games."

In the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, which has killed more than 304,000 people globally and infected 4.5 million, the IOC in March took the historic decision to postpone the Games, scheduled to open in Tokyo on July 24, until July 23 to August 8, 2021. It was the first peacetime postponement of the Games.

Updated: May 16, 2020 09:27 PM

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