Tokyo Olympics postponed to 2021
After weeks of insisting the Tokyo Olympics will be held in July as scheduled, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Japan finally faced up to the inevitable yesterday.
Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the world's largest sporting event has been postponed to "a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021".
After his conference call with IOC president Thomas Bach, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters: "We agreed that a postponement would be the best way to ensure the athletes are in peak condition when they compete, and to guarantee the safety of the spectators."
The Games will continue to be called the "Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020", and the Olympic flame will stay in Japan "as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times", the IOC and the Tokyo 2020 organising committee said in a joint statement.
The decision by Canada and Australia to skip the July Games as well as calls by other countries for a postponement had most likely sealed its fate.
Commenting on the delay, Singapore's Olympic champion, swimmer Joseph Schooling, said: "This is undoubtedly a tough call, but not an unexpected one. I believe this is the right move so as to not endanger the health and well-being of athletes and the public."