Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 7 August 2020

CORONAVIRUS

Tokyo Olympics postponed over coronavirus pandemic

Games delayed until 2021 after request from Japanese Prime Minister

The Olympic Games scheduled for Tokyo this summer have been postponed for a year.

Japan asked International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach for a one-year delay over the global coronavirus pandemic, and he supported the request.

"I proposed to postpone for about a year and president Bach responded with 100 per cent agreement," Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said.

There had been mounting pressure for the Games to be postponed with athletes unable to take part in qualifying events and training disrupted by measures put in place to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

IOC member Dick Pound revealed on Monday the organisation had already decided to postpone the showpiece event before the official announcement.

“On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided," said Pound.

"The parameters have not been determined but the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know.”

On Monday, World Athletics president Sebastian Coe placed considerable weight behind a suspension, when he drafted a letter to Bach.

In it, Coe said a July Games is “neither feasible or desirable” as countries around the world battle the coronavirus.

Coe, a double Olympic 1,500 metres champion, gave three main reasons for postponing the games: competition fairness; risk of injury; and the emotional well-being of athletes.

"Every one of my area presidents believes that we can no longer expect a fair and level playing field in our sport given the number of athletes who are struggling to train in various countries due to measures put in place to reduce the spread of coronavirus," he wrote.

"If athletes are unable to train properly now, we both know, as we have both been there, they will push themselves even harder closer to an Olympic Games, which will increase the propensity for injury.

"The uncertainty of the Olympic Games happening in July and the inherent desire and motivation to excel that resides in all our athletes is causing real anguish that we can, collectively, put a stop to."

Updated: March 24, 2020 07:35 PM

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