Canada withdraws from Tokyo 2020 … as IOC considering postponement

Team Canada has announced they will not be sending athletes to the Tokyo Olympics due to the coronavirus pandemic, while the Australian Olympic Committee has called for it to be postponed and told its athletes to prepare for a Games in 2021 instead.

However, the International Olympic Committee have ruled out a cancellation of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and remain hopeful that the Games could continue as scheduled.

In a statement made by president Thomas Bach, the IOC have accepted that they will consider postponement options in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. A final decision is expected within the next four weeks.

“There are significant improvements in Japan where the people are warmly welcoming the Olympic flame. This could strengthen our confidence in our Japanese hosts that we could, with certain safety restrictions, organise Olympic Games in the country whilst respecting our principle of safeguarding the health of everyone involved, ” Bach said in a statement among others.

“On the other hand, we have seen a dramatic increase in cases and new outbreaks of the virus in different countries on different continents.

“Our basis of information today is that a final decision about the date of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 now would still be premature.”

But with many athletes unable to train properly due to COVID-19 and ongoing concerns over the threat and spread of the virus, Team Canada has taken the matter into their own hands.

“The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC), backed by their Athletes’ Commissions, National Sports Organizations and the Government of Canada, have made the difficult decision to not send Canadian teams to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in the summer of 2020,” it said in a statement.

“The COC and CPC urgently call on the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to postpone the Games for one year and we offer them our full support in helping navigate all the complexities that rescheduling the Games will bring.

“While we recognize the inherent complexities around a postponement, nothing is more important than the health and safety of our athletes and the world community.

“This is not solely about athlete health – it is about public health. With COVID-19 and the associated risks, it is not safe for our athletes, and the health and safety of their families and the broader Canadian community for athletes to continue training towards these Games. In fact, it runs counter to the public health advice which we urge all Canadians to follow.

“The COC and CPC reviewed the letter and news release sent Sunday by the IOC. We are thankful to the IOC for its assurance that it will not be canceling the Tokyo 2020 Games and appreciative that it understands the importance of accelerating its decision-making regarding a possible postponement.

“We also applaud the IOC for acknowledging that safeguarding the health and wellness of nations and containing the virus must be our paramount concern. We are in the midst of a global health crisis that is far more significant.” – Sky Sports

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