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Confirmed: Tokyo Olympics to be delayed by a year

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Tuesday (March 24) that he and International Olympic Committee (IOC) chief Thomas Bach have agreed to delay the Tokyo Olympics, originally scheduled from July 24-Aug 9, by a year.

Abe was speaking to reporters after a phone call with Bach on postponing the Games amid growing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

The Games will not be held in 2020, but must take place by the summer of 2021, the IOC said in a statement.

Tokyo had completed preparations when the virus started spreading across the world. Despite insisting for months the Games would go ahead as planned, Abe this week said a delay may be unavoidable if the events could not be held in a complete form.

The Olympics have never been delayed in their 124-year modern history, though they were cancelled altogether in 1916, 1940 and 1944 during the two world wars. Major Cold War boycotts disrupted the Moscow and Los Angeles Games in 1980 and 1984. – REUTERS