Japan has asked for a one-year postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Games over the global coronavirus pandemic, and the International Olympic Committee has agreed, the country’s prime minister said Tuesday. Also Read - Hyderabad-based Startup Launches COVID-19 Innovation Challenge For Students to Bring Potential Cure
After his telephone talks with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, PM Shinzo Abe spoke to the press & explained that the two have agreed that the Tokyo Olympic Games would not be cancelled, & the games will be held by the summer of 2021, said the PM’s Office of Japan as reported by ANI. Also Read - Haryana: Man Catches Fire While Cleaning Household Items With Alcohol-based Sanitiser
“I proposed to postpone for about a year and president Bach responded with 100 percent agreement,” Shinzo Abe told reporters referring to Thomas Bach, head of the IOC. Also Read - Tokyo to Host The Postponed Olympics From July 23 to August 8 2021
Olympic chief Thomas Bach held talks with Japanese leader Shinzo Abe on Tuesday as they come under intense pressure to act quickly and postpone the Tokyo Summer Games because of the growing coronavirus pandemic.
Bach will hold telephone discussions with Abe, Tokyo’s governor, the head of the organising committee and Japan’s Olympics minister at a time when teams, athletes and sports bodies are all calling for a delay.
The United States became the latest team to urge a postponement of the July 24 start date, a day after Canada and Australia both pulled out and with Britain also expected to withdraw.
The virus lockdown has shut down competition, including Olympic qualifiers, and made training not just difficult but also dangerous, as athletes risk contracting or spreading COVID-19.
IOC officials are studying a postponement, among other options, but they have said a decision would be “premature” four months from the scheduled start. They will make an announcement within four weeks.
“My interpretation of the IOC’s communications is they don’t want to cancel, and they don’t think they can continue with the July 24 date,” senior IOC official Dick Pound told AFP.
“So you’re looking at the ‘P’ word — postponement.” Lockdowns across the globe are affecting 1.7 billion people, while coronavirus deaths have topped 16,200 with more than 377,000 declared infections in 175 countries and territories, according to an AFP tally.
The US Olympic team came out in favour of postponement after a survey of 1,780 US athletes found an overwhelming majority — 68 percent — backed delaying the Games.
“Our most important conclusion from this broad athlete response is that even if the current significant health concerns could be alleviated by late summer, the enormous disruptions to the training environment, doping controls and qualification process can’t be overcome in a satisfactory manner,” the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee said.
USA Gymnastics also said it was “adding our voice to the chorus advocating for postponement”, after USA Swimming and USA Track and Field had already urged the US Olympic committee to press for a delay.
Meanwhile, British Olympic Association chairman Hugh Robertson said Britain is poised to follow Canada and Australia by pulling out of the Games.
“I think it is very simple,” said Robertson. “If the virus continues as predicted by the Government, I don’t think there is any way we can send a team.”