By Oyediji Oluwaseun Babatunde
Sports Writer, kick442.com-Nigeria
For the first time in the history of the game, the Olympic Games will be postponed due to battle outside World Wars as Japan Organizing Committee and International Olympic Committee officially confirmed the postponement of the games till 2021 due to outbreak CoronaVirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Never before have the Olympic Games been postponed or canceled for something other than war, but rarely has the world come to a grinding halt the way it has over the novel coronavirus.
On Tuesday, March 24, 2020, Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and International Olympic Committee (IOC) President, Thomas Bach agreed to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympics by about one year.
The opening ceremony of the biggest global sports competition had been planned for July 24.
Despite the postponement, the Summer Olympics — when they eventually happen — will still be called the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.
The postponement of the games was confirmed in a joint statement by Tokyo Organizing Committee and IOC.
“The IOC president and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games … 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,” said a joint statement by the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee and the IOC.
According to the statement, the World Health Organization (WHO) had consulted with both parties on Tuesday about what it called the “accelerating” pandemic. There are now more than 390,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, with more than 17,000 deaths. Nearly every country has been impacted.
The postponent decision comes less than 48 hours after the IOC said it was giving itself four (4) weeks to make a decision about the Olympics. As coronavirus continued to spread in recent weeks, Bach and other members of Japan’s government insisted the Games could go forward.
Canada and Australia recently it would not send representatives to the Olympics without a delay.
Germany and Poland had also called for the games to be delayed.
The Olympics have never been rescheduled for something other than war. In 1916, 1940 and 1944, the Games were canceled because of both world wars.
The IOC and Tokyo organizers said they hope the decision to postpone will help the world heal from the pandemic.
“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,” the IOC statement said.
COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated the cancellation and postponement of major Sports events withing Africa and world over. Major leagues in Europe no longer hold due to the virus. FIFA U-17 and U-20 Women’s World Cup Qualifiers, CHAN 2020, Edo 2020 National Sports Festival (Nigeria), Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), Nigeria Women Football League (NWFL) Premiership among other sporting events have been postponed due to COVID-19 Pandemic.
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