Since the situation is getting worse day by day in most of the countries around the globe due to the widespread contagious coronavirus spread, Canada and Australia have decided to pull out from the upcoming world’s biggest sports event, Olympic which was set to hold in Japan from July 24 to August 9, 2020.
The Paralympics for this year, which was scheduled to be held at Tokyo Big Sight, officially known as Tokyo International Exhibition Center, from August 25 to September 6, 2020, is likely to call off due to the virus outbreak.
Canada Boycotting Games
Canada became the first country to boycott the 2020 Tokyo Games as experts expected further escalation of the virus infection or spread across the globe. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has considered the option to postpone the glamorous events for the first time as several other major stakeholders including US Track and Field; and UK athletics, have started putting pressure.
A source explained that the opposition to the IOC from some national Olympic committees have sharply risen in the last 48 hours and called for a delay of the events due to the virus outbreak. On Sunday, March 22, 2020, the IOC announced that it would convene meetings with major stakeholders and national Olympic committees to discuss the possibility of a postponement of the Tokyo Games for even a year or more.
Calling the attention of the organizers and the World Health Organization (WHO) to postpone the Games for one year, Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic Committees remarked, “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.”
With this new development around the Games, the host country, Japan is likely to consider it as Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe told parliament on Monday, March 23, 2020, that postponing the Olympics has now become an option if the organizers could not maintain a “complete form” of the events. Abe stated, “If that becomes difficult, we may have no option but to consider postponing the Games, given the Olympic principle of putting the health of athletes first.”
Australia Planning for 2021
Following Canada’s boycotting the IOC, the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) also announced on Monday that it would not send its delegation for the summer of 2020 Games and instead of that, it would prepare for 2021. The AOC said in a statement, “The AOC believes our athletes now need to prioritize their own health and of those around them, and to be able to return to the families, in discussion with their National Federations.”
The AOC’s Chief Executive, Matt Carroll stated that the executive board of the committee arrived this decision without seeking advice from the IOC due to the severe circumstances caused by the virus epidemic over the recent weeks. Carroll told reporters in Sydney on Monday, “We’ve had to make a call now because of the situation here in Australia and other parts of the world.”
On Sunday, the IOC said after an emergency meeting that the international committee was considering its “scenario planning” for the 2020 Games which was due to start on July 24, including a possible postponement. Citing that, “the IOC is still working through their final decision-making,” Carroll said Australia’s decision would give its athletes “certainty” and pushed for the Games to be held off until 2021.
The national committee of Australia described the situation, “… 2021, it’s 12 months, it has to be a summer Games, it’s an appropriate amount of time but again that’s a decision for the International Olympic Committee.”
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