The International Olympic Committee and Tokyo Olympic organisers have agreed that the postponed Games will be held between July 23 and August 8 next year.

Both sides said the Games will be held exactly one year later than originally planned, as Tokyo 2020’s first dates were July 24-August 9.

The Paralympics will start August 24 and run until September 5, also keeping the same slot.

Monday’s announcement means that 2021 world championships in several sports, including the showcase Olympic sports of swimming and athletics, must find new dates.

The Games were postponed on March 24 because of the coronavirus outbreak, with IOC president Thomas Bach initially saying they could be held at any time next year until summer.

Bach says the decision was based on three considerations: Protecting everyone’s health and containing Covid-19, safeguarding athletes’ interests and Olympic sport, and the global sports calendar.

“I am confident that, working together with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Japanese Government and all our stakeholders, we can master this unprecedented challenge,” IOC president Thomas Bach said in a statement.

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“Humankind currently finds itself in a dark tunnel. These Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 can be a light at the end of this tunnel.”

Tokyo Organising committee president Yoshiro Mori said: “I am convinced that taking this decision promptly will help speed up future preparations … The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee will continue to work hard for the success of next year’s Games.”

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike told reporters: “We will once again start make preparations in order to hold a safe and secure Games for athletes and spectators.”

“But, at first, we have to defeat the novel coronavirus,” she added.

The swift decision on the new dates especially relieved local officials.

Sapporo city official Masayuki Nakata said he was glad to hear Olympic marathons and walking events will take place in summer as initially scheduled.

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“A spring Olympics would have required totally different adjustments,” Nakata told Kyodo News.

The IOC moved the marathon and walking events to Sapporo, the capital of the northern island of Hokkaido due to Tokyo’s extreme heat in summer.

Bowing to mounting pressure from athletes and sports bodies amid the global coronavirus pandemic, Bach and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed last week on the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics to 2021.

 

AAP

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