Tokyo 2020 official calls for option to further delay of Games

Contrary to the belief that the Tokyo 2020 Games will be cancelled altogether if the COVID-19 pandemic does not end or an effective vaccine is not developed to ensure the conduct of the Olympics next year, at member of the Games’ Board has called for an option to further delay the multi-nation, multi-discipline event.

Tokyo 2020 Board member Haruyuki Takahashi, according to, has told a Japanese publication that the Olympics and Paralympics should be delayed further  instead of a cancellation if the COVID-19 pandemic does not subside.

The global outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in February-March this year has compelled the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which were to take place in July-August, to be delayed by a year. The Games are now slated to start on July 27, 2021. There has been a common belief that if the Games fail to take off on the next schedule there is no possibility of another postponement.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach had admitted that the Games would have to be scrapped altogether if the event cannot be held in 2021.

Japan has been among the nations to effectively control the spread of novel coronavirus. A little over 17,500 COVID-19 positive have been reported with the highest number of 5,619 infections being diagnosed in Tokyo. The nation which had the peak of 743 cases on April 12 has successfully flattened the curve. The number of daily cases since has been reduced to 25-30. There have been 927 deaths.

The Tokyo Olympics, initially scheduled for July and August of this year, have been moved back to the 2021 and are now due to start on July 23 due to the pandemic that has till date infected over  82.50 lakh people, resulting in more than 4.46 deaths.

In an Organising Committee Executive Board meeting on Friday (June 12), Tokyo 2020 President Yoshirō Mori said that cancelling the Games had not been discussed with the IOC.

High-ranking IOC member Pierre-Olivier Beckers-Vieujant said earlier this month that a final decision on holding the Games would be made in the spring of 2021. Tokyo 2020 vice-president Toshiaki Endo had previously said a decision on the fate of the Games should not be made until “at least March”.

If the Games fail to take off in July next year, delay by another year would add to the organising committee and the host nation’s financial woes and will leave little options in the international sports calendar to create a window for the Games in 2.22. The Beijing Winter Olympics, the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, the World Athletics Championships in Oregon and the Birmingham Commonwealth Games are all scheduled for 2022.

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