COVID-19: Japan, IOC agree to postpone Olympics by a year

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Tokyo, March 24 (IANS) The 2020 Tokyo Olympics has been postponed with Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe saying on Tuesday that he has reached an agreement with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to hold the Games in 2021.
“I proposed to postpone for about a year and President Bach responded with 100 per cent agreement,” Abe told reporters referring to Thomas Bach, head of the IOC.
This thus makes it the first Olympics to be postponed with the Games being cancelled previously during the Second World War.
Abe had a telephonic conversation with Bach on Tuesday after which he told reporters that the pair have come to an agreement on the postponement. The IOC has come under increasing pressure from a number of quarters to announce a postponement with restrictions on movement of people being set in countries around the world due to the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed over 16,500 lives as on Tuesday.
Abe had previously said that a postponement is unavoidable if the 2020 Games cannot be held in a complete manner amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to NHK.
IOC member Dick Pound had stated that the 2020 Summer Games will be postponed by one year because of coronavirus.
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has stated that no decision regarding the postponement of Tokyo Games, slated to start from July 24, has been made as of now by the International Olympic Association (IOC) and it will be done only in four weeks’ time.
Chairman of the British Olympic Association has said Great Britain would be unlikely to send a team to Tokyo this summer while Australia and Canada had already said they will not compete in Japan due to the coronavirus pandemic this year.
The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee said that “the path toward postponement” of the Tokyo Games is “most promising” after surveying about 2,000 American athletes.
The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee sent a survey over the weekend to more than 4,000 athletes on the coronavirus pandemic and the Games, and they received responses from 1,780, reports Xinhua news agency.
The Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committees announced on Sunday that they will not send a delegation of athletes to the Tokyo Games unless they were postponed.
Australia’s Olympic Committee also released a similar statement, saying that its athletes should prepare for a Tokyo Olympic Games “in the northern summer of 2021”.