Coronavirus: Japan, IOC agree to postpone 2020 Olympics

The Olympic Rings stand in front of the flags of Nations in the Olympic Park in Sochi.. Picture date: Monday February 3, 2014. See PA story OLYMPICS Sochi. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire.
The Oympics Rings used to illustrate the story

The back and forth concerning the 2020 Olympic Games has finally been rested following the confirmation on Tuesday by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) president, Thomas Bach, that an agreement has been reached to postpone Tokyo Games by about one year.

CNN reports Abe and Bach agreed that the latest date the Olympics will be held is summer 2021.

The IOC has been facing mounting pressure to delay the Games, which were originally scheduled to take place from July 24 to August 9, amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The Olympics have never been rescheduled in peacetime. In 1916, 1940 and 1944, the Games were canceled because of world wars.

There has been growing opposition to hosting the Games as planned as countries attempt to limit the spread of the virus.

Australia and Canada both announced they would not be sending athletes to Tokyo this year, and — along with the likes of USA, Germany and Poland — called for the Games to be postponed until 2021.

Several sporting events have either been postponed or cancelled since the COVID-19 assumed a global status.

It is reported that 368, 226 cases have so far been confirmed globally since December, with 251,053 active cases.

Of the active cases, 239,197 are in mild condition and 11,856 are in critical condition.

On Monday, veteran IOC member Dick Pound of Montreal had suggested that indeed the 2020 Tokyo Games will be postponed.

Pound told The Canadian Press in a phone interview he expects the July 24 start of the Olympics to be pushed back.

“You’re looking at a postponement,” Pound said Monday. “I think that’s out there now.

“We’re all reading the tea leaves and so on, but the Japanese themselves are talking about postponing. A lot of National Olympic Committees and countries are calling for a postponement.”

Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) said Sunday night it would hold back its athletes if the Games start as scheduled and called for a postponement until 2021.

READ ALSO: Tokyo 2020: Athletes to be camped for five months – Sports Minister

“I know this is heartbreaking for so many people — athletes, coaches, staff and fans. But this was absolutely the right call, and everyone should follow their lead,” Trudeau said Monday in Ottawa.

Britain had also indicated they are set to follow Australia and Canada in boycotting the Tokyo Olympics due to the coronavirus pandemic, the head of the British Olympic Association said on Tuesday.

Hugh Robertson said that with athletes unable to train together and fears the spread of the coronavirus will worsen in the coming weeks in Britain there was little chance of sending a team to Japan for the Games that are scheduled to start on July 24.

Several qualifying events for the Olympic Games are still pending.


Coronavirus factsheet


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