Kuala Lumpur: The International Olympic Committee (IOC), Tokyo Organizing Committee and Japan Government have confirmed on Tuesday that the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games have been postponed to 2021 due to concern over coronavirus pandemic.
IOC President Thomas Bach and Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe have made a joint IOC-Tokyo Organizing Committee statement on Tuesday:
“In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the World Health Organization, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo 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.”
On Wednesday, Badminton World Federation (BWF) reacted to the announcement from IOC with a mixture of relief and goodwill to the postponement:
“The unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to many unforeseen challenges.
Today, we stand in solidarity with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) in welcoming the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
BWF fully supports the decision made yesterday by IOC President Thomas Bach, Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe, and the Tokyo Organising Committee (TOCOG) to “reschedule the Games to a date beyond 2020 but no later than summer 2021”.
As we have learnt in recent months, balancing the many necessary considerations for the whole of sport has been a complex exercise, so we are supportive of how difficult this decision would have been for the IOC and TOCOG.
We must now allow all parties to work toward good, sensible and thorough conclusions for the benefit of all involved.
We are still at this point left with some uncertainty on new dates for the Games but we ask for patience from the entire badminton community to allow the BWF, in collaboration and consensus with the IOC, IPC and TOCOG, to gain a better understanding of what the next 12 months will look like.
For our athletes, we will review any impacts on the Olympic and Paralympic qualification system to ensure a fair solution is found to qualify players for the postponed Games.
BWF, in the short-term, is also looking into the possibility of freezing World Rankings until international tournaments start again. However, we are still working on the technical solution to ensure the freezing and eventual un-freezing of World Rankings works fairly for all players and we will announce this shortly.
Right now, our immediate thoughts are with everyone affected by this global pandemic. From the start, the health, safety and wellbeing of all athletes, their entourage, officials and the greater badminton fraternity have been our No.1 priority.
At the same time, we have strong considerations to protect the key structures of our sport that will ensure it survives in these volatile and uncertain times. We appreciate that an important part of this is the livelihood of our international badminton players in the current situation where very few tournaments will be played over the coming months.
BWF will continue to monitor all developments regarding COVID-19, and in line with advice from the World Health Organization (WHO), various health experts, IOC and IPC, will make the best choices in the interests of international players and the general badminton community.
We also fully support the IOC, IPC and TOCOG in these times and will contribute all we can to making the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics the greatest in history.”