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BREAKING NEWS:

Postponed Tokyo Olympics to open July 23 next year

photo by AP photo

Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee President Yoshiro Mori delivers a speech during the Tokyo 2020 Executive Board Meeting in Tokyo, Japan on Monday. Mori said Monday he expects to talk with IOC President Thomas Bach this week about rescheduling the games fo

By Agency
31st-Mar-2020       
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The Tokyo Olympics will begin on July 23 next year, organisers said on Monday, after the coronavirus forced the historic decision to postpone the Games until 2021.
The announcement comes less than a week after the organisers were forced to delay the Games under heavy pressure from athletes and sports federations as the global outbreak worsened.
"The Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8, 2021. The Paralympics will be held from August 24 to September 5," Tokyo 2020 chief Yoshiro Mori told reporters at a hastily arranged evening news conference.
Only hours earlier, Mori had said he expected a decision from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) during the course of the week.
But on Monday evening, he said an emergency teleconference had been held with the IOC and the date finalised.
"We agreed that the timing of the event will be in summer as originally planned, considering the coronavirus... and a certain amount of time needed for preparations, selection and qualification of athletes," he added.
In a statement, the IOC said the new dates would give health authorities and organisers "the maximum time to deal with the constantly changing landscape and the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic."
The decision would also cause "minimum" disruption to the international sports calendar, the body said.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics were due to open on July 24 this year 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.

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