News World Tokyo Olympic Games delayed to 2021, easing athletes' angst

Tokyo Olympic Games delayed to 2021, easing athletes’ angst

Japan and the Olympics movement decided on Tuesday to delay this year’s Tokyo Games into 2021 as the coronavirus crisis obliterated the world’s last major imminent sporting event.

It was the first time in the Olympics’ 124-year history that they had been postponed, though they were cancelled outright several times during the two 20th century World Wars.

After a call with International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the July 24-Aug. 9 event would be rescheduled for the summer of 2021 at the latest as proof of victory over the coronavirus.

“We asked President Bach to consider postponement of about one year to make it possible for athletes to play in the best condition, and to make the event a safe and secure one for spectators,” Abe said.

“President Bach said he is in agreement 100 percent.”

There was no immediate word from the IOC, though its executives were due to meet later on Tuesday.

Athletes were sad but relieved after weeks of worrying and struggling to train as the world headed into virtual lockdown from the disease that has claimed more than 16,500 lives.

“I compete in a little bike race, which is nothing compared to what is going on in the world right now,” American Olympic BMX champion Connor Fields said. “No sport is more important if it means more people might potentially die from this.”

Pressure on the IOC and its powerful president Bach had been accelerating fast in recent days, with Canada and Australia refusing to participate if the Games went ahead in the summer.

Athletes wholeheartedly endorsed the delay, given health risks and disruption to their training as gyms, stadia and swimming pools shut down around the world.

“To be honest, I’m left reeling and feeling a little lost. But the goal posts haven’t disappeared – just shifted. It’s time to recalibrate and fire up for the next challenge,” said Australia’s two-time Olympic champion swimmer, Cate Campbell.

The coronavirus outbreak has raged around the world since early this year, infecting nearly 380,000 people and wrecking sports events from the soccer Euros to Formula One.

Postponement is a massive logistical headache for hosts Japan, which has pumped in more than $12 billion of investment.

But a poll showed about 70% of the Japanese agree with a delay.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike told reporters the delayed Games would still be branded “Tokyo 2020”.

Pictured: Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe talks to the journalists in front of the prime minister’s residence in Tokyo, Japan March 24, 2020 after a phone call with IOC President Thomas Bach on postponing the Olympic Games amid growing concerns over the coronavirus. Charly Triballeau/Pool via REUTERS

Top Stories

Fourteen new corona virus cases detected out of 3,775 tests

According to the Epidemiological Surveillance Unit of the Ministry of Health 14 new cases of the SARS-CoV-II virus were detected out of a total...

Iraq’s port of Umm Qasr takes precautionary measures after deadly Beirut blast

Following the deadly blast at Beirut's port last week, Iraq is moving to secure its own main port of Umm Qasr from any potential...

Concerns over preserving Lebanon’s cultural heritage

Many historical buildings in Beirut were badly damaged in last week's devastating explosion. Experts worry that much of Lebanon's rich cultural heritage will be lost...

Yellow alert for extremely high temperatures on Thursday

Mainly fine weather on Thursday with yet another yellow alert for extremely high temperatures in effect from 13:00 to 17:00. Temperatures are expected to rise...

Turkey accuses Greece of violating “Turkish” minority rights in Thrace

Turkey has said that minority schools are being closed down under the pretext of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Turkish Foreign Ministry released a statement on...

Taste

Octopus ‘Kathisto’ (or Octopus braised in Wine)

Ingredients: 1/2 cup Greek extra virgin olive oil 2 medium onions, chopped fine 1 large octopus, about 2kg (cleaned and kept whole) 3/4 cup dry red wine 1/3 cup...

Homemade lemonade

Ingredients: 1 cup lemon juice 1 cup sugar Method: Thoroughly wash the lemons with soap and warm water. Roll each lemon with the palm of your hand, pressing...

‘Striftaria’ mini cheese pies

Ingredients 1 ½ cup milk 2 tbsps. flour 4 tsps. of butter 3 eggs, slightly beaten + 1 extra with 1 tbs. of milk for spreading 1 pack of...

Mini potato canapes baked on salt

Ingredients Serves: 12 1kg small Cypriot potatoes rock salt, as needed 250g salted butter 300ml full fat cremé frâiche 1 pot cod or salmon roe Method Prep:20min › Cook:35min › Ready in:55min Take...