New dates announced for Tokyo Olympics

Christian Fleetwood

Christian Fleetwood

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced the rescheduled Olympic and Paralympic games in Tokyo will take place next year from 23 July to 8 August.

The new schedule will give all parties involved in the organisation of the games the maximum time to deal with the “constantly changing landscape” and disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the IOC.

“The new dates, exactly one year after those originally planned for 2020 … also have the added benefit that any disruption that the postponement will cause to the international sports calendar can be kept to a minimum,” the IOC said in a statement.

“Additionally, they will provide sufficient time to finish the qualification process. The same heat mitigation measures as planned for 2020 will be implemented.”

The change marks the first occasion an Olympic Games have been rescheduled in peacetime, with the 1940 and 1944 games cancelled due to World War II, and the 1916 games cancelled due to World War I.

IOC president Thomas Bach said he was confident his organisation and the Tokyo Olympics’ organisers “can master this unprecedented challenge”, referring to the global impacts of COVID-19.

“Humankind currently finds itself in a dark tunnel. These Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 can be a light at the end of this tunnel.”

Tokyo governor Yuriko Kuiko welcomed the new dates as “ideal” and said they would ensure the games were “safe and secure” for athletes and spectators.

“Also, the preparation for the new dates will go smoothly, as the dates match with same timeframe as the original competition dates, corresponding with ticketing, venue staffing, volunteers and transport,” she said.

Following the official postponement of the Olympic Games, the 2021 World Athletics Championships are expected to be moved to 2022.

Swimming’s world governing body, FINA, has indicated it will consider revising the proposed dates for the 2021 World Aquatics Championships, which are scheduled to take place from 16 July to 1 August in Fukuoka, Japan.

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