Tokyo 2020: surfing will make its Olympic debut in 2021 | Photo: ISA

Japan and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have decided to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The event was supposed to be held from July 24 through August 9, 2020.

However, Thomas Bach, president of IOC, and Abe Shinzo, prime minister of Japan, announced that due to the global novel coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak, the Summer Games will be held later on.

The two leaders are concerned about the consequences of the worldwide pandemic and underlined that the disease is having a significant impact on the lives of athletes and their families and friends.

Moreover, Bach and Shinzo acknowledged that the Covid-19 epidemic is negatively affecting the athletes' training and preparation for the Olympic Games.

"We are facing an unprecedented challenge now because this postponement is the first-ever postponement of an Olympic Games in Olympic history," said Thomas Bach.

"The Olympic Games is one of the most complex events on this planet."

"We have to get together 11,000 athletes from 206 National Olympic Committees, as well as the IOC Refugee Olympic Team, in one place."

Tokyo 2020... In 2021

The IOC and the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee took into consideration the data provided by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Games of the XXXII Olympiad will be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021.

"The Tokyo 2020 Olympics are a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times, and the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the planet finds itself at present," the representatives stated.

The IOC Athletes' Commission has already welcomed and fully supported the decision to postpone the Games.

The Olympic and Paralympic Games will keep their original designation - Tokyo 2020.

"We agreed that the name will be kept as 'Olympic Games Tokyo 2020,' again to show our commitment and the highly symbolic meaning these Olympic Games then hopefully can and will be - at the end - a celebration of humankind having overcome this unprecedented challenge of the coronavirus," concluded Bach.

Surfing is expected to make its Olympic debut at Tsurigasaki Beach when the competition gets the green light.

"There is no question for me that this is a wise decision. As surfers, we are used to being flexible, even in the most difficult of circumstances," notes Fernando Aguerre, president of the International Surfing Association.

"Together we will beat this virus, and we will celebrate that victory with the best Olympic Games ever, in 2021."

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