'This decision relieves our athletes of worries' - IOA welcomes decision to postpone Tokyo Olympics to 2021

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Mar 24, 2020, 07.56 PM(IST)

Tokyo Olympics rescheduled to 2021 Photograph:( AFP )

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The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has welcomed the joint decision to postpone the Tokyo Olympics 2020 by one year as the IOA announced that it would be holding meetings with athletes, NSFs, sponsors to revise the preparations for the quadrennial event.

In what comes as a landmark piece of news, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics have been postponed to no later than the summer of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Games were scheduled to start from July 24 but after discussions with International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the historic decision was taken to postpone the Tokyo Olympics to 2021. 

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has welcomed the joint decision to postpone the Games by one year as the IOA announced that it would be holding meetings with athletes, NSFs, sponsors to revise the preparations for the quadrennial event. IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta said that the decision to delay the Games will relieve Indian athletes of worries of having to train during the epidemic. 

"IOA welcomes the decision of IOC and #Tokyo2020. Soon after the lockdown is over, IOA would be holding meetings with Athletes, NSFs, Sponsors, etc. to revise preparations. This decision today, relieves our athletes of worries of having to train now during the epidemic," IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta said in a statement. 

ALSO READ: IOC, Japan agree to postpone 2020 Tokyo Olympics by one year, to be held 'no later than summer of 2021'

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Furthermore, the Olympic torch relay, which was scheduled to start from March 26 has been suspended. "The Olympic torch relay, which was scheduled to start from 26th (March), will not start," Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori told reporters.

ALSO READ: Have the Summer Olympics ever been cancelled? A look back at history

Earlier on Tuesday, a joint statement was issued after the meeting between Bach and Abe as the pair said that based on the current information by the World Health Organization, the Tokyo Games "must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community".

"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," the statement concluded.