By John Askounis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The Tokyo Olympic Games will be postponed for about one year, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters on Tuesday. The 2021 summer is the latest these Olympics could be held, he additionally noted following the agreement with the International Olympic Committee, IOC.
“I proposed to postpone for about a year and president Thomas Bach responded with 100% agreement,” mentioned Abe, “This will make it possible for athletes to play in the best condition, and will make the event a safe and secure one for spectators.”
IOC previously set a four-week deadline to consider postponing the Olympic Games, in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Member Dick Pound followed up confirming that the Tokyo Games will be postponed.
The postponement of the Olympic Games directly affects basketball. Apart from the basketball tournament in Tokyo, the Qualifying Tournaments were supposed to take place in late June. Upon the rescheduling of the Olympic Games, new dates will likely be set accordingly.
Another view allows leagues in Europe and the rest of the world to potentially stretch their 2019-20 schedules deep into the summer without colliding with the Olympic Games, provided health concerns are lifted. Many competitions are currently temporarily suspended hoping for action to resume in the near future.
Joint statement from the International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 organising committee:
“The president of the International Olympic Committee, IOC, Thomas Bach, and the Prime Minister of Japan, Abe Shinzo, held a conference call this morning to discuss the constantly changing environment with regard to the COVID-19 and the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
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.
President Bach and Prime Minister Abe expressed their shared concern about the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, and what it is doing to people’s lives and the significant impact it is having on global athletes’ preparations for the Games.
In a very friendly and constructive meeting, the two leaders praised the work of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and noted the great progress being made in Japan to fight against COVID-19.
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.”