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Canada will not send athletes to Tokyo Games

World Athletics welcomes possible Tokyo 2020 postponement

Published : 23 Mar 2020, 13:17

Updated : 23 Mar 2020, 13:25

  DF-Xinhua Report

File Photo Xinhua.

World Athletics released a statement on Sunday expressing its support of the possible postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games amid the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak.

"World Athletics welcomes discussions with the IOC to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and wrote to the IOC earlier today to relay this feedback from its area presidents, Council and athletes," said athletics' global governing body. "We stand ready to work with the IOC and all sport on an alternative date."

The executive board of the International Olympic Committee announced on Sunday that the organization would step up its scenario-planning for Tokyo 2020, adding that it would give itself a four week deadline to make a decision on whether the Games should be postponed.

"The IOC will, in full coordination and partnership with the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, the Japanese authorities and the Tokyo metropolitan government, start detailed discussions to complete its assessment of the rapid development of the worldwide health situation and its impact on the Olympic Games, including the scenario of postponement. The IOC is confident that it will have finalized these discussions within the next four weeks," the IOC said in a statement.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games are scheduled to take place from July 24 to August 9.

Meanwhile, Canada announced on Sunday night that it will not send Canadian athletes to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement, the Canadian Olympic Committee said it will not send teams to Tokyo unless the Games, which are scheduled to start on July 24, are postponed by a year.

"The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC), backed by their Athletes' Commissions, National Sports Organizations and the Government of Canada, have made the difficult decision to not send Canadian teams to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in the summer of 2020," the statement read.

"The COC and CPC urgently call on the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to postpone the games for one year. We offer them our full support in helping navigate all the complexities that rescheduling the Games will bring."

"We recognize the inherent complexities around a postponement, nothing is more important than the health and safety of our athletes and the world community," adds the statement.

The statement comes amid mounting criticism of the IOC's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

IOC president Thomas Bach said earlier on Sunday that the organization would set a deadline of four weeks to determine the fate of the games, and that it is considering other options including postponement.

Bach's comments mark the first time that the IOC has admitted that it would consider options other than the scheduled running of the Games.