TOKYO: The long-awaited decision on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is finally out and the event has been postponed by a year due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Tuesday that he and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have reached an agreement and will be holding the Games in 2021.
The IOC and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee later said in a joint statement that Thomas Bach, IOC President and Abe agreed that the Games have to be "rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021." This, thus, became the first Olympics to get postponed.
The joint statement also mentioned that the decision was made keeping in view of the pandemic COVID-19 that has infected over 4 lakh people and has claimed over 16,000 lives globally.
The statement said, "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," it said further.
In recent weeks, the IOC has been under pressure from several quarters asking to announce the postponement of the Games considering the restrictions on their movement as the situation has been worsening regarding the virus.
Many Olympic committees all over the world have released the statement that they would not be sending their athletes to for the 2020 Tokyo Games amidst all the chaos and the global crisis. However, now the decision has been made for everyone's benefit.