IJF Media Team / International Judo Federation
Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, will propose a one-year postponement for the Tokyo Olympics during talks with IOC president, Thomas Bach. The Olympics have never before been delayed, but were cancelled in 1916, 1940 and 1944 during the two world wars.
Abe said a postponement is unavoidable if the 2020 Games cannot be held in a complete manner amid the coronavirus pandemic. Abe held telephone talks with Bach after the IOC said it would make a decision on the Tokyo Games over the next four weeks but the decision is a fact. Is it now an operational problem for the Local Organising Committee, the IOC, the NOCs and Federations such as the IJF to reschedule the route to the Games with all facilities and costs.
Until just a few days ago the IOC, along with the Tokyo organising committee and the Japanese government, had insisted there were no plans to delay the Olympics given they were not due to open for another four months but Japan’s NHK public television reported on Tuesday that Abe wants a one-year delay.
Tokyo 2020’s fate was effectively sealed this week when Canada and Australia said they would not send athletes to Japan in July, while the British and French governments urged the IOC to make a quick decision.
Athletes across globe call for Olympic postponement as countries pull out. World Athletics, the Olympic committees of Brazil, Slovenia and Germany, USA Swimming, USA Track and Field had joined the growing chorus of calls for a new date for the event.
World number one U52kg Amandine Buchard responded: “Just thinking about it breaks my heart. The Olympics is my biggest dream, my reason for living.”
Naohisa Takato said: ” Whatever happens, I am ready to fight.”
Paris Winner Nikoloz Sherazadishvili reacted: ” I don’t know yet how to react, I am very dissapointed of course, since the first day I knew it was supposed to be postponed, but I thought perhaps to November, but it is an unlucky situation and we have to see.”
Dutch medal candidate Juul Franssen: “its is what is it, we adjust and prepare for a new date.”
Paris winner Peter Paltchik says: “I was fully prepared for the Olympic Games to be in the summer with very good momentum in the start of the Olympic year with two gold medals and high shape, but with all the things that happened with the Corona Virus I think its the best for all the athletes around the world to delay the Olympic Games and let all the athletes to return to trainings and make it all equal again.”
Speculation that an announcement was imminent rose on Monday when the IOC member Dick Pound claimed the body had decided to postpone the Olympics for a year, describing it as the most likely solution to the Olympic movement’s biggest crisis since the politically motivated boycotts of Moscow in 1980 and Los Angeles four years later. “That’s my conclusion,” Pound told Reuters.
Abe this week hinted that postponement was a possibility, hours after the IOC said it could take up to four weeks to decide the fate of the Games.
The Japanese public had already accepted the inevitable. According to a Kyodo news poll last week, almost 70% of respondents said they did not expect the Games to go ahead this summer.
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