Tokyo Olympics to begin July 23 next year after delay due to virus
TOKYO. KAZINFORM - The Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to Aug. 8 in 2021, organizers said Monday, after they were forced to make an unprecedented decision last week to postpone the quadrennial sporting extravaganza for about a year in response to the global coronavirus pandemic, Kyodo reports.
The Paralympic Games will take place between Aug. 24 and Sept. 5, 2021 in the Japanese capital, said the organizers, who decided from among several proposed time frames, including springtime, to avoid major conflicts with the international sports calendar.
«The first-ever postponement of the games has brought up challenges and problems. But I'm sure that deciding the new dates quickly will allow us to speed up our preparations,» Tokyo Games organizing committee President Yoshiro Mori told a press conference in Tokyo after agreeing on the new schedule with the International Olympic Committee in a teleconference.
«We also thought it will take time to hold qualifications and for the athletes to prepare for them,» said Mori, given that more than 40 percent of competitors were yet to book their spots for the Olympics, initially due to begin July 24.
He said that a longer delay was necessary to fight the pneumonia-causing virus, and added that staging the Olympics and Paralympics during the summer vacation will allow more ticket holders to watch the sports at venues and more volunteers to assist with operations.
«Now that we have decided, we have an unwavering resolve to go forward,» Mori said.
The organizing committee's CEO, Toshiro Muto, said he expects that the competition schedule will not change drastically from the one planned for this summer.