The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games has been postponed by one year due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe held a crucial conference call with Olympics chief Thomas Bach on Tuesday to formally decide a plan where they decided to postpone the games for 12 months.
Abe said afterward: “I proposed to postpone for about a year and [IOC] president Thomas Bach responded with 100% agreement.”
He added: “This will make it possible for athletes to play in the best condition, and will make the event a safe and secure one for spectators.”
The decision also means the Tokyo Paralympic Games will be subjected to a one-year delay.
A joint statement from the IOC and Tokyo 2020 organising committee read: “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.”
The chief executive of the British Olympic Association Andy Anson was in favour of the decision.
He said: “It would have been unthinkable for us to continue to prepare for an Olympic Games at a time the nation and the world no less is enduring great hardship. A postponement is the right decision.”
On Sunday, the IOC gave themselves a four-week deadline to decide on the best course of action and ruled out cancelling the Olympics altogether.
This was expected to give all those involved time to work out plans on how the Games would eventually proceed.