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Coronavirus: Tokyo Olympic Games postponed to 2021

By Tom Walker    24 Mar 2020
All of the Tokyo 2020 venues – including the New National Stadium – have been completed, but will now have to wait until 2021 to host events / Shutterstock

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games have been postponed until 2021, following talks between International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and key members of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee (TOCOG).

In a statement, Abe said the pair had established that cancelling the Games entirely was "out of the question", but that putting the event back by a year was the "right thing to do".

The decision marks a significant U-turn in Bach's stance and comes just days after the IOC chief claimed it was too early to call the Games off as there was still "more than four months" before its intended start date.

In a joint statement, the IOC and TOCOG said: "In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the World Health Organisation 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 decision was made amid increasing pressure over the past few days, with a number of athletes, national Olympic committees and sports governing bodies to reschedule the Games due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak.

While the Games will now be held "no later than summer 2021", the exact date of the event hasn't yet been confirmed.

Earlier this month, TOCOG announced that all the venues for the Olympics had been completed on time after work on the Aquatics Centre was finished in February.

Tokyo  Olympic Games  International Olympic Committee  IOC  Thomas Bach  Prime Minister  Organising Committee 
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