New date set for postponed Tokyo Olympics

The Tokyo Olympics, which were postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak, will begin on July 23 next year.

Ben Ariel ,

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Olympics logo
Reuters

The Tokyo Olympics will begin on July 23 next year, organizers said on Monday, according to AFP.

The announcement comes less than a week after the organizers were forced to delay the Games, which were scheduled for this summer, under heavy pressure from athletes and sports federations as the global outbreak of coronavirus worsened.

"The Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8, 2021. The Paralympics will be held from August 24 to September 5," Tokyo 2020 chief Yoshiro Mori told reporters at news conference.

Only hours earlier, Mori had said he expected a decision from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) during the course of the week.

But on Monday evening, he said an emergency teleconference had been held with the IOC and the date finalized.

"We agreed that the timing of the event will be in summer as originally planned, considering the coronavirus... and a certain amount of time needed for preparations, selection and qualification of athletes," he added, according to AFP.

In a statement, the IOC said the new dates would give health authorities and organizers "the maximum time to deal with the constantly changing landscape and the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic."

The decision would also cause "minimum" disruption to the international sports calendar, the body said.

The Olympics was the highest-profile sporting casualty of the coronavirus that has wiped out fixtures worldwide and all but halted professional sport.

The coronavirus has already had an effect on several sports. Last week, UEFA, the governing body of European soccer, postponed its marquee championship, Euro 2020, until next week in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The NBA suspended its season after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus.

It was followed by the NHL which suspended its season as well, and MLB which cancelled Spring Training and delayed the start of its regular season, which had been scheduled for March 26.




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