New target for Cork's Olympic hopefuls as Tokyo Games set for July 2021 start

New target for Cork's Olympic hopefuls as Tokyo Games set for July 2021 start
Ireland's Paul O'Donovan with his silver medal in the 2016 Olympics. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie

THE Tokyo Olympics will take place between July 23 and August 8 next year.

The International Olympic Committee confirmed the news on Monday, which followed a meeting of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee.

A decision to postpone the Olympic and Paralympic Games was taken last week by the IOC and the Japanese government because of the accelerating threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

A statement from the IOC also confirmed the new dates for the Paralympic Games, which will now take place on August 24 to September 5.

"These new dates give the health authorities and all involved in the organisation of the Games the maximum time to deal with the constantly changing landscape and the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic," the statement read.

"The new dates, exactly one year after those originally planned for 2020 also have the added benefit that any disruption that the postponement will cause to the international sports calendar can be kept to a minimum, in the interests of the athletes and the international federations.

"Additionally, they will provide sufficient time to finish the qualification process. The same heat mitigation measures as planned for 2020 will be implemented."

The confirmation of the new dates comes less than a week after the forced postponement of the Games.

IOC president Thomas Bach said: "I want to thank the international federations for their unanimous support and the Continental Associations of National Olympic Committees for the great partnership and their support in the consultation process over the last few days.

"I would also like to thank the IOC Athletes' Commission, with whom we have been in constant contact.

"With this announcement, I am confident that, working together with the Tokyo 2020 organising committee, the Tokyo metropolitan government, the Japanese government and all our stakeholders, we can master this unprecedented challenge. Humankind currently finds itself in a dark tunnel. These Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 can be a light at the end of this tunnel."

Tokyo 2020 organising committee president Yoshiro Mori said he had proposed the July 23 to August 8 time frame to the IOC, and that Bach had agreed following consultations with the international sports federations.

"A certain amount of time is required for the selection and qualification of athletes and for their training and preparation, and the consensus was that staging the rescheduled Games during the summer vacation in Japan would be preferable," Mori said.

"In terms of transport, arranging volunteers and the provision of tickets for those in Japan and overseas, as well as allowing for the COVID-19 situation, we think that it would be better to reschedule the Games to one year later than planned, in the summer of 2021."

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