The 2020 Olympic Games is the latest sporting event to be shut down due to the spread of coronavirus.
Today, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Japanese government have confirmed that the Tokyo Olympic Games will be postponed until 2021 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The 2020 Olympic Games was initially set to start from 24 July, but as the number of coronavirus cases has passed 375,000 globally, the IOC and government of Japan have taken the decision to hold the Olympics at a date “beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021.”
What was said in the joint statement?
In the statement, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President of the IOC, Thomas Bach stated that the decision to postpone the games was made to ensure the health of athletes and everyone involved in the games.
The statement read: “The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present. Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.”
This news comes after Canada and Australia made the decision to withdraw their athletes from all Olympic competitions yesterday.
Other sports put on hold
Several major sporting leagues and bodies have announced that events will either be cancelled, postponed or moved behind closed doors due to health concerns over the spread of the virus.
In the UK, the Jockey Club announced that the 2020 Randox Health Grand National Festival will not take place this year. The English Premier League (EPL), FA, EFL and WSL have also agreed to postpone all professional matches in England. Greyhound racing events will continue behind closed doors without an audience.
In the US, the NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS, decided to postpone sporting events indefinitely after a player for the NBA’s Utah Jazz tested positive for coronavirus. The NCAA has also put March Madness on hold.
However, there are still a handful of sports leagues that are still completing events. The Russian basketball leagues and the Belarussian football leagues are among those leagues that are still running.