Tokyo: The Tokyo Olympics have been officially postponed until 2021. The International Olympic Committee along with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and local organizers have decided that the Tokyo Games cannot go ahead in an extraordinary move, unprecedented in peacetime, as the world battles the coronavirus pandemic. "I proposed to postpone for about a year and president Bach responded with 100 percent agreement," Shinzo Abe told reporters referring to Thomas Bach, head of the IOC. The IOC says the Games will be held 'not later than summer 2021'' but they will still be called the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The move would be a devastating blow for the city of Tokyo, which had won widespread praise for its organisation, with venues finished well ahead of time and tickets massively oversubscribed. The Olympics, which has experienced boycotts, terrorist attacks and protests, but has been held every four years since 1948, would be the highest-profile event affected by the virus that has killed thousands and closed sports competitions worldwide. The IOC has come under increasing pressure in recent days to postpone the Games, scheduled to start on July 24, with 1.7 billion people across the planet in lockdown to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. Training has become impossible for many athletes and exposes them to the risk of contracting or spreading the disease. Competitions and qualifiers have been scrapped, while international travel is severely limited.