The whole world is in lockdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak. All the major sporting events in the world have been postponed. UEFA has postponed the Euro 2020 to 2021. COMNEBOL has also followed the same path and moved the Copa America to 2021.
The Tokyo Olympic Games 2020 was scheduled to take place from 24th July to 9th August. But due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, the Olympic games have been moved back by a year. The Olympics will now be held in 2021.
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach held a conference call this morning. They were joined by Mori Yoshiro, the President of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee; the Olympic Minister, Hashimoto Seiko; the Governor of Tokyo, Koike Yuriko; the Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission, John Coates; IOC Director General Christophe De Kepper; and the IOC Olympic Games Executive Director, Christophe Dubi.
After the conference call, it was officially announced that the Tokyo Olympics have been moved to 2021. The official statement read: “The unprecedented and unpredictable spread of the outbreak has seen the situation in the rest of the world deteriorating. Yesterday, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that the COVID-19 pandemic is “accelerating”. There are more than 375,000 cases now recorded worldwide and in nearly every country, and their number is growing by the hour.”
“In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.”
“The 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 in which the world finds itself at present. Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.”
The Olympic games have never been delayed in its 124-year modern history, though it was cancelled altogether in 1916, 1940 and 1944 during the two world wars. Cold War boycotts disrupted the Moscow and Los Angeles Games in 1980 and 1984.
Indian Olympic Association (IOA) secretary-general Rajeev Mehta said after the postponement: “This decision today, relieves our athletes of worries of having to train now during an epidemic and perform their best in four months from now.”
Let’s hope the Coronavirus pandemic is cured quickly all over the world and we can fast forward to 2021 where we will have many big international tournaments. Until then, stay safe.
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