The Tokyo Olympics 2020 stand postponed until the next year. The International Olympic Committee along with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and local organizers have said in an official statement that the games cannot take place amid the COVID-19 outbreak. The pandemic has engulfed the entire world and has brought to a halt most economic, industrial, business and sports activities.

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An official statement was posted on the IOC site to declare the news. It reads, “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.”

It further said, “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.”

In announcing the decision, Abe said that he had asked Thomas Bach, President of the IOC, for a one-year delay and that Bach had “agreed 100 percent.” IOC leaders have acknowledged the disruption but said that a delay was the only way to ensure that athletes could train safely and the more than $10 billion that Japan has spent to prepare for the Olympics during the past seven years would not go to waste. The scale of the games, however, may be reduced.

The Olympics have been held every four years since 1948 and have trailed through boycotts, terrorist attacks and protests. The games were scheduled to start from 24 July 2020 but the IOC had been facing resistance from the nations and athletes worldwide for a while now to postpone the games considering the circumstances the coronavirus has rendered the world in. About 1.7 billion people across the planet are in lockdown to contain the transmission of COVID-19.

IOC leaders have acknowledged the disruption but said that a delay was the only way to ensure that athletes could train safely and the more than $10 billion that Japan has spent to prepare for the Olympics during the past seven years would not go to waste. The scale of the games, however, may be reduced.

On Sunday, the IOC had initially given itself a deadline of four weeks to come up with a proposal to postpone the Games, a Herculean task that touches on every aspect of Tokyo 2020 planning from venues to security to ticketing. The committee gave in when the US Olympic Committee and World Athletics started calling in for postponement, soon after Canada and Australia withdrew their teams.

The postponement of the Olympics is expected to take a toll on the already plunging Japanese economy. The entire sports calendar would be suffering because of the decision. But it wasn’t feasible, either to conduct the largest sports event by keeping so many concerned lives at stake.

( Picture Credit: indianexpress.com)

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Saavriti is an intern with SheThePeople.TV 

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