Tokyo Olympics postponement 'harsh but right decision': commentator

By Lu Wenao Published: 2020/3/25 0:40:36

Olympic rings are illuminated during an event to mark six months before the opening of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, on January 24. Photo: Xinhua

The Tokyo Olympics were postponed on Tuesday until 2021, the first such delay in the Games' 124-year modern history, as the coronavirus pandemic has sent world sporting events into chaos.

"In the present circumstances, and based on information provided by the WHO today, the Games of the 32nd Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021," the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said in a statement issued on Tuesday, noting the move is "to safeguard the health of everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community."

The postponement of the Olympics, originally scheduled for July 24 to August 9, is likely to deal a huge blow to Japan, as the country has invested more than $12 billion in preparing for the Olympics.

But the IOC confirmed that the Games will keep the name Tokyo 2020, a move that relieves the financial burden on the organizers.

"The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times," the IOC statement noted.

But it was also a relief for athletes around the world, as the coronavirus pandemic has forced many to have no place to train but stay at home.

The packed sporting calendar will give the organizers a headache in coordinating other major sporting events in 2021, as multiple individual sports have scheduled their world championships for next year.

Pan Jianming, a Beijing-based sports commentator, said the decision is a tough one but also the right one.

"It's a harsh decision but the right decision," Pan told the Global Times on Tuesday.

"As the coronavirus is spreading worldwide, athletes' inadequate preparation means even if the Olympics were to have been held on their original dates, the quality of the Games would have been hugely impacted."

Posted in: OLYMPICS

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