Amidst the increasing threat from the spread of the pandemic COVID-19, the debate surrounding the postponement of Tokyo Olympics have come to rest. Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach agreed to postpone this summer’s Tokyo Olympics for one year due to the coronavirus pandemic on March 24. The news has been confirmed by the Japanese leader and it is the first ever time in the history of the Olympics that the quadrennial sporting event has been postponed.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that they will aim to hold the Olympics and Paralympics next year in summer at the latest. Abe added that there has been no discussion on the cancellation of the event because of the pandemic outbreak, but measures would be taken for a roughly one-year postponement.
Japan is to bear the brunt of the postponement for being the host nation and it will definitely be a major blow to its economy. Logistical challenges to Olympic organizers also remain persistent apart from dealing with the global pandemic.
More than 380,000 people have been infected and over 16,000 who contracted the pneumonia-causing COVID-19 have died, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and the World Health Organization has warned that “the pandemic is accelerating”.
Travel bans and struggles related to training and practice of the Athletes led to the decision.
The IOC has said so far only 57 percent of athletes have been qualified for the forthcoming Games, although the Olympic flame was lit on March 12 in Greece as planned and it arrived in Japan on March 20.
The Tokyo 2020 countdown clock has switched to current date and time indicating towards the postponement, as the last update before the shift was 122 days to go before the Olympics opening ceremony on March 24.