Postponed Tokyo Olympics to open 23 July 2021: organisers

File: The 2020 Games were postponed earlier this year as the deadly new coronavirus spread around the globe.

File: The 2020 Games were postponed earlier this year as the deadly new coronavirus spread around the globe.

AFP

TOKYO - The postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics will open on 23 July 2021, organisers said, announcing the new date after the Games were delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision comes less than a week after organisers were forced to delay the Games under heavy pressure from athletes and sports federations as the global outbreak took hold. 

Tokyo 2020 chief Yoshiro Mori told reporters they were weighing the pros and cons of a summer and spring Games and he expected a decision from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) soon.

"I think perhaps there will be some kind of communication from (IOC) President (Thomas) Bach this week," Mori told reporters.

READ: Tokyo Olympic Games postponed

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics were due to open on July 24 and run for 16 days, but the coronavirus pandemic forced the first peace-time postponement of the Games.

The IOC and Japan had for weeks insisted the show could go on but the rapid spread of COVID-19 prompted growing disquiet among athletes and sporting federations.

The Olympics was the highest-profile sporting casualty of the coronavirus that has wiped out fixtures worldwide and all but halted professional sport.

READ: Tokyo governor says cancelling Olympics 'unthinkable'

There was some speculation that Japanese organisers could take advantage of the blank canvas to shift the Games to spring, avoiding the heat of the Tokyo summer that had been their main concern before coronavirus struck.

But given the ongoing pandemic and need for preparation time, the most likely plan would be for the Games to begin on 23 July 2021, public broadcaster NHK said over the weekend, citing sources within the organising panel.

The postponement has handed organisers the "unprecedented" task of rearranging an event seven years in the making, and Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto has admitted the additional costs will be "massive".

Source
AFP

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