Thomas Bach, the head of the International Olympic Committee and Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan announced on Tuesday that the 2020 Olympic Games, organised by Tokyo will be postponed until 2021, because of the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
This decision also includes the Paralympic Games, previously scheduled for this year in the Japanese capital. The original date of the 2020 Olympic Games was July 24 – August 9, the dates of the rescheduled fortnight have yet to be announced.
Although the event will take place in 2021, the name Tokyo 2020 will remain the same.
Before the decision was made, several national Olympic Committees announced that they would not be sending their athletes to Tokyo, because of the virus. The Polish committee (PKOl) issued a statement on Sunday, calling for the postponement of the Olympic Games.
To safeguard the health of the athletes and everyone involved in the Tokyo 2020 Games.— #Tokyo2020 (@Tokyo2020) March 24, 2020
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games will now take place no later than summer 2021.
Decision to postpone the #Tokyo2020 to 2021 due to #COVID19 pandemic is sensible and the right one for athletes and the general public. As we continue to meet the challenges of this pandemic,the health of athletes and all those involved in sport,will continue to be front-of-mind.— Witold Bańka (@WitoldBanka) March 24, 2020
Polish athletes: safety first
“With the current situation in the world, this seems to be the most reasonable solution. Let’s hope we will follow the basic rules and deal with this situation as fast as possible,” Sofia Ennaoui, Polish runner wrote on social media.
“Life verifies plans. The postponement of the Olympic Games until 2021 forces adapting to the new regulations. Currently, health is the most important issue, we all have to survive this difficult period,” Anita Włodarczyk, the holder of the world record, and double gold Olympic medallist in the women’s hammer throw competition. posted on Instagram.
Polish discus thrower Piotr Małachowski planned to end his career after the Tokyo Olympics. “I made two decisions. I am training until the Olympic Games in 2021. I want to prepare 100 percent and be a real competitor to my rivals. This is why I will undergo an arthroscopy surgery of my right knee. It will be difficult for me, but I hope I will return stronger,” he said. Małachowski has two silver Olympic medals under his belt.
“I am not angry. This is a logical decision, which has been expected over recent weeks. We have been waiting for confirmation. We have to accept it. I always say that I do well in chaos, and I am already preparing for the 2021 Olympic Games,” Vital Heynen, the coach of the Polish national volleyball team told Polish national broadcaster TVP. “We know that our goal is a medal and we will adapt to any conditions, in order to win it,” he declared.
In the opinion of Paweł Słomiński, the head of the Polish Swimming Association, postponing the Olympic Games can be beneficial for Radosław Kawęcki, the strongest member of the Polish swimming team. “He will have more time for optimal preparations and will be very determined,” he said.
This is the first time in Olympics history that the games have been postponed. However, several simply did not take place, due to WWI and WWII. Nevertheless, the Summer Games of 1916 (Berlin), 1940 (Tokyo) and 1944 (London), as well as Winter Games of 1940 (Sapporo, Japan) and 1944 (Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy), have their number in tables, so those following them did not technically replace them.
More than 424,000 cases of the coronavirus were confirmed in the world as of Wednesday morning. The largest number was confirmed in China (81,218), followed by Italy (69,176) and the US (54,935). Nearly 19,000 people have died. Poland has 927 confirmed cases, including 12 fatalities.