Accra, Mar. 24, GNA - The much-awaited news on the state of this year’s summer Olympics Games has been officially announced, with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Japan, the host, agreeing to postpone the Games until no later than summer 2021.
The announcement was made in a joint statement issued and signed by IOC President Thomas Bach and the Prime Minister of Japan Shinz? Abe on Tuesday.
The statement said the two, after series of meetings with relevant stakeholders concluded that the Games must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 to "safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community".
They finalized on the decision based on information provided by the World Health Organization (WHO), whose Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the coronavirus pandemic is "accelerating".
This marks the first time ever that the quadrennial sporting event has been postponed.
Due to the widespread of the novel Covid-19, there were lots of calls on the organizers to postpone or cancel the biggest multi-sports event with some countries such as Australia and Canada threatening to withdraw their athletes from the Games.
There are more than 375,000 cases now recorded worldwide and in nearly every country, and the number is growing by the hour.
The Olympic flame would remain in Japan and the name Tokyo 2020 will be used regardless of when the Games will be held.
The Paralympic Games will also be postponed until 2021.
On March 4, Bach claimed that postponing or canceling the Games had "not been mentioned," after a meeting of the IOC Executive Board, but the situation has accelerated rapidly and led to Tuesday’s historic decision.
"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," the statement said.
"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."GNA