KUALA LUMPUR, March 24 — The Tokyo 2020 Olympics have been officially postponed to next year due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the International Olympic Council (IOC) and Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee confirmed tonight.
The decision was agreed upon after a conference call between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and IOC president Thomas Bach today and based on the current global crisis as well as the information provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“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 flame will stay in Japan. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020,” a joint statement from IOC and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee said.
The postponement is for both the Olympic Games, scheduled from July 24 to Aug 9 and the Paralympics, slated from Aug 25 till Sept 6.
The statement further stated that the unprecedented and unpredictable spread of the coronavirus outbreak has seen the situation in the rest of the world deteriorating, as more than 375,000 cases have now been recorded worldwide and in nearly every country.
Though this is the first-ever postponement of the Olympics in its 124-year history, the Games has been cancelled during World War periods in 1916, 1940 and 1944.
With the latest update, the qualification system and world sporting calendar, which have already affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, are expected to undergo a major overhaul.