Olympic Games In Tokyo Postponed Until 2021 Due To Coronavirus
The Tokyo Olympics have been postponed until the summer of 2021 due to the global coronavirus pandemic, following an agreement between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach.
According to a press release from the IOC, the two 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.
Joint Statement from the International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committeehttps://t.co/XNcaa4Gvx8- Olympics (@Olympics) March 24, 2020
The Olympic flame will stay in Japan, and it was also agreed that the event next year will keep the name of Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.
During their conference call today, Bach and Abe expressed their shared concern about the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic, and its effect on people's lives worldwide - including the significant impact it is having on global athletes' preparations for the Olympics.
They concluded that the 2020 event 'must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021', in turn safeguarding the health of athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.
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The Games were due to take place in the Japanese capital from 24 July to 9 August, but pressure has been mounting on the IOC to postpone it.
Canada and Australia have already announced that they will be withdrawing from the Games and the chairman of the British Olympic Association, Hugh Robertson, said he expected Britain to be 'joining shortly'.
He said: "We can't see any way that this can go ahead as things are constituted. I expect we will be joining Canada and Australia shortly.
"I think it is very simple. If the virus continues as predicted by the government, I don't think there is any way we can send a team.
"First, I don't see any way that the athletes and Team GB could be ready by then. Elite training facilities are perfectly understandably and quite correctly closed around the country, so there is no way they could undertake the preparation they need to get ready for a Games.
"Secondly, there is the appropriateness of holding an Olympic Games at a time like this. We are actually in a process where we are talking to all our sports. We will complete that over the next couple of days."
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Featured Image Credit: PA