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More than half of Tokyo residents opposed to Olympics next year, survey finds

A new survey has found that more than half of Tokyo residents do not want the postponed Olympic and Paralympic Games to be held next year.

Tokyo 2020 has been moved back to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, but doubts remain about the Games going ahead.

The survey, carried out over the phone by Kyodo News and the Tokyo MX television channel, was taken by 1,030 people.

It found that 51.7 per cent want the Games to be postponed again or cancelled, with 46.3 per cent wanting the re-arranged Tokyo 2020 to take place.

Out of those who are opposed to next year, 24 per cent said they would favour a second postponement.

This option has been repeatedly rejected by Tokyo 2020 and International Olympic Committee officials, however.

Complete cancellation was backed by 27.7 per cent.

Of those who want to see the Games go ahead next year, 31.1 per cent said they should take place in a reduced form.

This is the path being taken by organisers, with Tokyo 2020 chief executive Toshirō Mutō speaking about "simplified Games" and announcing this month that 200 ideas on how to scale things back were being considered.

Holding a full-scale Olympics as planned was backed by 15.2 per cent.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics are now scheduled for between July 23 and August 8 next year, with the Paralympics due to follow from August 24 to September 5.

Some believe that these dates will also not be feasible, however, if the coronavirus pandemic does not subside significantly around the world and a vaccine is not developed.

IOC President Thomas Bach is among those who have admitted the Games would be cancelled entirely if not possible in 2021, with a second postponement not being considered.

Tokyo 2020 Board member Haruyuki Takahashi has claimed, however, that another shift in dates should be considered.

The delay has created a huge logistical challenge for organisers, which Bach has described as a "huge jigsaw puzzle and every piece has to fit".

Another survey by Japanese broadcaster NHK revealed that two-thirds of corporate sponsors for Tokyo 2020 are unsure if they will extend their contracts past December, with 14 per cent saying it would depend on the asking price.

The re-arranged Games is a key topic amid campaigning for Tokyo's gubernatorial election on Sunday (July 5).

Incumbent governor Yuriko Koike looks likely to win a second term although one of her rival candidates, Tarō Yamamoto, has pledged to cancel Tokyo 2020 if elected.

There are fears of a second wave of coronavirus in the Japanese capital, with the city reporting more than 50 cases for the past four days.

This is the highest level since early May, when Japan was under a state of emergency.

(07/05/2020) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Despite triple hurdles, Michael Kibet still has eye on the big prize

They say when it rains, it pours.

Late compliance with anti-doping protocols ahead of last year’s World Athletics Championships in Doha meant that some already-qualified Kenyan athletes missed out on the action in the Qatari capital as they hadn’t gone through the required pre-championship rituals.

Not a fault of their own, but certainly a deflating situation for them, having trained for probably the biggest break of their careers.

Among them was Michael Kibet, whose career plans were dealt another major blow by the cancellation of the most of this year’s season due to the coronavirus pandemic, including the Tokyo Olympic Games which were pushed to next year from their initial date this month.

Kibet then shifted his focus to the Diamond League whose events resume next month with the Monaco leg scheduled for August 14, followed by Stockholm (August 23), Lausanne (September 2) and Brussels (September 4).

But he’s again hoping for the best after the European Union on Tuesday named the countries whose nationals will be allowed into their territory from Wednesday when the borders opened, with Rwanda, Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria the only African nations offered the clearance.

Kenya has been blacklisted.

Kibet, who trains in Kericho County and specializes in the 5,000 meters, will keep one eye on the global developments and another on his training regime, waiting for competition, and normalcy, to resume.

He badly wants to succeed where no Kenyan has succeeded since John Ngugi won the Olympic Gold at the 1988 Seoul Games.

“The virus has disrupted my plans after I was dropped last year from Team Kenya to the World Championships.

“I was waiting to showcase my talent at the Olympic Games but everything has stopped, and I just have to wait for things to normalize,” Kibet told Nation Sport in Kericho.

With all athletics camps still camps closed, Kibet decided to shift his training to Kericho where he loves the altitude that averages 2,180 meters above sea level, slightly lower than the 2,400 meters in Iten, Elgeyo-Marakwet County.

(07/02/2020) ⚡AMP
by Bernard Rotich
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Virus puts 2016 World Under-20 10,000 meters champion Rodgers Kwemoi’s debut over 21km on hold, for now

Kenyan athletes have been going abroad to look for greener pastures, and many have landed in Asian countries, mostly in Japan.

A number of them have been contracted by Japanese firms. They work and participate in various events while representing these companies.

But that is not to say that these athletes miss out on representing their home countries in either Commonwealth Games, World Championships, World Half Marathon Championships or the Olympics.

Covid-19 pandemic has led to cancellation of races globally. Others such as the 2020 Olympic Games were postponed to next year.

Still, travel plans by many athletes have been thrown into disarray.

One such athlete is 2016 World Under-20 10,000 metres champion Rodgers Kwemoi.

Nation Sport caught up with him at his home in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County after he failed to travel back to Japan when the Kenyan airspace was closed in March. 

Kwemoi has been working with Asian Kogyo Corporate team since 2015, and his athletics career has grown steadily. He arrived back home in January to prepare for Lisbon Half Marathon, where he was to make his debut over the distance but that was not to be as the race was cancelled. 

Came back home to train.- “I came back home to train here for endurance because I was going to run the 21km race for the first time and I was just working on endurance. I had prepared well and I knew I was going to do well but the virus stalled my dreams,” Kwemoi, who is under Global Sports Communication stable, said.

The virus spread so fast Kwemoi couldn’t catch a flight back to Japan, his second home, because the Kenyan air space was closed in an effort to contain the spread of the global pandemic.

He hopes that things will return to normal again for competitions to resume because he is missing the sport.

The soft-spoken athlete was in the Kenyan team for 2019 World Championships in Doha, narrowly missing out on the medal bracket as he finished fourth.

He blames that performance on inadequate training occasioned by a lot of traveling.“I would have done better in the championships but my training was disrupted. I traveled to Japan and back and I had few weeks to prepare,” Kwemoi, who is also the Commonwealth Games 10,000m bronze medalist, said.

But back in Japan, life is slowly returning to normal.

Stephen Mayaka, the head coach at Oberlin University Tokyo, says although the deadly virus has disrupted sports globally, but he is happy that competitions will resume next month in Tokyo.

“Things are getting back to normal here and we are even getting back to competitions next month where athletes will be competing in Hokuren challenge meet in Hokkaido on 4th,8th,15th and 18th July,” Mayaka told Nation Sport on phone from Japan.

He also said that athletes in Japan are in good shape and are looking forward to competing.Mayaka also said that he was looking forward to the Olympics Games but it was unfortunate because it had to be shifted to next year.

(06/25/2020) ⚡AMP
by Bernard Rotich
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Majority of Tokyo Olympic sponsors undecided on extension

A survey in Japan has revealed two-thirds of corporate sponsors of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics are unsure if they will extend their contracts beyond this December.

Japan’s public media organization NHK conducted a survey of 78 Olympic and Paralympic sponsor companies in May, with 57 of them responding.

NHK says about 12 per cent plan to extend their contracts with the Organizing Committee, while about 65 per cent said they have not started any discussions with the committee and are undecided on extending agreements.

The sponsors who plan to extend their contracts said reports the Games would face cancellation if they cannot take place in 2021 were alarming, the same firms believed that Games without spectators in the stadium would be a reason for withdrawing sponsorship.

The Covid-19 pandemic was highlighted as the main concern for most sponsors with 68 per cent of them saying their financial situation this year has been deteriorating.

The social distancing restrictions due to Covid-19 had also prevented sponsors holding promotional events as they would potentially be held in crowded situations.

In their report NHK said companies failed to respond on how they will react if the committee asks for further financial contributions should they extend their contracts. Fourteen per cent said it would depend on the asking price on whether they will extend or not.

SportBusiness understands that the decision to ask sponsors to make extra payments will be taken in the June-July period and will determine whether domestic partners will be asked to pay more and, if so, at what percentage of the annualised fee.

During an online meeting this week the International Olympic Committee and Games organisers agreed to host a “simplified” games, cutting the financial burden caused by the postponement while prioritising safeguards against Covid-19.

(06/16/2020) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Japanese Government considering simplified format for Tokyo 2020

The Japanese Government is considering a simplified format for the postponed Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

Measures would be introduced to contain the spread of coronavirus, with many concerned that the pandemic may still be an issue next year.

The changes could include a reduction in the number of spectators and a scaling back of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, as reported by Kyodo News.

Athletes may also have restrictions on the number of times they can leave the Athletes' Village, with testing mandatory for athletes, staff and spectators.

"We hope to work together with the Government and the Tokyo Organising Committee to look into what can be rationalised and simplified," said Tokyo Govenor Yuriko Koike.

"It will be necessary in order to gain empathy and understanding from the public."

The pandemic forced the postponement of this year's Olympics to July 23 to August 8, 2021, with the Games set to be followed by the Paralympics from August 24 to September 5.

Japan Medical Association President Yoshitake Yokokura has expressed his fear that the Games may be completely cancelled if a coronavirus vaccine is not available, while Australian Olympic team medical director David Hughes recently warned that the event in the Japanese capital "will not be business as usual".

Tokyo 2020 and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have also been looking to scale back some elements of the Games due to concerns over cost.

It has been suggested that the Olympic Torch Relay may be streamlined, for example.

IOC President Thomas Bach predicted the postponement of Tokyo 2020 would cost the governing body $800 million (£659 million/€739 million), while Tokyo 2020 are yet to calculate their final figure.

Japan has reported nearly 17,000 cases of coronavirus, resulting in 900 deaths.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe lifted the state of emergency in the country last week, but the easing in restrictions has seen a jump in new cases in Tokyo.

(06/13/2020) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Tokyo Olympics must be held in 2021 or not at all

High-ranking Olympic official Pierre-Olivier Beckers on Saturday made plain that the delayed Tokyo Olympics "will be held in 2021 or not at all".

The Belgian was reiterating the stance put forward by Japan and International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach that next year was the last chance to hold the Games postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Today everyone is sure that they will start on July 23, 2021," he told Belgian newspaper L'Avenir.

"We are convinced that the Games will take place in 2021 or they won't take place.

"It's unthinkable to keep such a project on the go for any longer considering the enormous costs and all the thousands of people involved."

Beckers suggested it was "essential" that the traditional sporting calendar emerges from its Covid-19 lockdown before allowing major sporting events like the Olympics to be staged.

"All the sporting federations have to adapt to the Games' postponement.

"We can't envisage a similar upheaval a second time," stressed the president of Belgium's Olympic Committee.

According to Beckers a final decision on Tokyo "will be taken in the spring if questions (over the global health crisis) persist."

He said he was optimistic over the staging of the Games, rejecting any notion that it would be held behind closed doors.

In March, Tokyo 2020 was postponed one year over the coronavirus, which has killed hundreds of thousands around the world and halted international sport and travel.

Beckers heads the IOC's coordinating commission for the 2024 Games and he said he wanted Paris "to be different" to past editions.

"We want to stage Games that are economically responsible, inclusive, sustainable and useful for society.

"The IOC's desire is that the Games adapt to the needs of cities, countries, and vice versa. Paris will be the first edition that will fully fit into this vision."

"We must fight against gigantism," he continued.

"In Paris, we will return to a budget lower than that of previous editions: 3.8 billion euros for operations and around three billion for all infrastructure."

(06/06/2020) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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World Athletics president Sebastian Coe, announced a new pathway to Tokyo Olympics

The qualifying period for track and field events for the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games will end on June 29, next year just 23 days before the start of the world’s biggest sporting bonanza.

However, World Athletics - that unveiled its four-year strategic plan and Olympic qualifying process- disclosed marathon and 50km race walk entry period will elapse on May 31, 2021.

Tokyo Olympic Games were postponed from July 24 to August this year to July 23 to August 8, 2021 owing to Covid-19 pandemic.

With the reopening of its headquarters this week, World Athletics indicated in a statement that it had the opportunity to discuss with its 214 member federations its new strategic plan to drive growth.

The statement explained that the virtual discussion also centred on latest medical advice on the coronavirus pandemic, particularly as it impacts on athletes returning to training and competition, and the updated qualifying process for Tokyo Olympics Summer Games.

Give Direction.- The members also talked about the direction athletics will take over the next four years and the short-term challenges and opportunities the sport has as the world begins to emerge from lockdown.

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe, who chaired the meetings, said it was important to communicate regularly with the member federations in this unprecedented situation and to give direction for the future.

"Our head office may have been closed for 11 weeks but we have not been idle," Coe said. “We have used that time to continue to develop our strategy to grow athletics.”

In marathon and 50km race walk, the qualifying period that covers 21 months started on January 1, 2019 and ended April 5, 2020. The period resumes December 1, 2020 to May 31, 2021.

Track And Field.- The period for track events featuring 10,000m, 20km race walk, combined events and relay started January 1, 2019 ending on April 5, 2020. The period resumes on December 1, 2020 to June 29, 2021.

All other track and field events period started on May 1, 2019 ending April 5, 2020 before resuming December 1 this year to elapse on June 29, 2021.

However, World Athletics noted that all the top 10 finishers in the men’s marathon and in the women’s marathon at the 2019 Doha World Athletics Championships have qualified automatically for the Tokyo Summer Games.

Also to gain automatic qualification in marathon are top five finishers at the World Athletics gold label marathons and the top 10 finishers at the Marathon Major Series (Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York) held during the qualification period from January 1, 2019 to April 5, 2020.

The top 10 finishers at the platinum label marathons and the winners of the gold label marathons held during the period from December 1, 2020 to May 31, 2021 will also gain direct entry to the Games.

The top eight nations at the 2019 Doha World Championships gain direct entry to the Tokyo Games alongside those that that will finish in top eight at Silesia 2021 World Athletics Relays.World Athletics will also consider world ranking in all the events across the qualifying periods.

(06/04/2020) ⚡AMP
by Ayumba Ayodi
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori has said the Olympics would have to be cancelled if the coronavirus pandemic isn't brought under control by next year

Tokyo 2020 officials are looking at ways to scale back next year's postponed Olympics, the city's governor said Thursday, amid reports the opening ceremony could be streamlined and spectator numbers cut.

Yuriko Koike told reporters that organizers were weighing up what could be "rationalized and simplified" as costs spiral for holding the first postponed Games in history.

The International Olympic Committee announced in March the Games would be delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands and brought international travel to a virtual halt.

The Games are now due to open on July 23, 2021, but organizers face the unprecedented headache of rearranging the event, which requires a costly rejigging of everything from venues to transport.

Local media said streamlining plans could involve cutting the number of spectators and reducing participation in the opening and closing ceremonies.

The Yomiuri Shimbun daily quoted an unnamed source as saying that everyone including athletes, officials and spectators would be required to take a test for the virus.

"The top priority is to avoid the worst scenario of cancelling the Games," an unnamed government source told the daily.

Tokyo 2020 spokesman Masa Takaya declined to offer further details as a press conference later on Thursday, saying only that discussions were ongoing.

"At this stage we do not have any concrete outcome," he said, adding that discussions about coronavirus countermeasures would be held "from this autumn onwards."

"Concerning the spread of the novel coronavirus, particularly the situation next summer and how the world will look like is something very ambiguous," he added.

IOC chief Thomas Bach said last month that 2021 was the "last option" for holding the Tokyo Games, stressing that postponement cannot go on forever.

He declined to say whether a vaccine was a prerequisite for going ahead with the Olympics, but was lukewarm on the idea of holding them behind closed doors.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said it would be "difficult" to hold the postponed Tokyo Olympics if the coronavirus pandemic is not contained.

And Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori has said the Olympics would have to be cancelled if the coronavirus pandemic isn't brought under control by next year.

(06/04/2020) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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China's IOC member Li Lingwei said that the postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games could be a chance for athletes to become real champions

"We are all experiencing things that have never happened before in our lives. Once you go through a hard time, you can become a real strongman," Li said.

As the Tokyo Games postponed, the vice president of the Chinese Olympic Committee admitted it would affect the preparation of the teams, especially given that the COVID-19 pandemic is still spreading across the world and the time to restart sporting events globally remains uncertain.

"If you are preparing for a competition, you will have a clear goal with inner potential and passion. But if not, the daily training can be very boring," the former badminton world champion said she understood the athletes' feelings.

Despite many obstacles ahead, Li encouraged athletes to take this period as a chance to re-adjust since the situation is fair to everyone.

"Instead of waiting passively, athletes should make full use of this opportunity to self-reflect, recuperate from injuries and tackle shortcomings," the 56-year-old former legendary shuttler suggested.

"Today's hard work may not immediately pay off tomorrow, but will eventually bring you good results in the future."

Li, who is also a deputy to the National People's Congress of China, believed next year's Olympic Games will be a comprehensive examination, where athletes could show the world how they arranged their training and lives during the pandemic.

"Will you be fully prepared? Will you have your skills improved? Can you accept a high-intensive game schedule? An excellent athlete is not someone who only runs fast or jumps high, but one who is capable of dealing with various situations and having comprehensive abilities," Li noted.

"From this perspective, I think the champion of the Tokyo Olympics is the real champion."

The Tokyo Games will kick off on July 23, 2021, with Beijing Winter Olympics being held six months later.

Speaking of the legacies of Beijing 2022, Li focused on mental ones, saying "sports play an important role in children's education."

"Physical education is not only about doing exercises but to let the children learn to respect the rules, their rivals and referees, and know how to face success and failure, cooperation and competition," she pointed out.

(05/28/2020) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Ex-800m World champ Eunice Sum eyes Olympic medal

The 2013 800 meters world champion Eunice Sum is focusing on winning an Olympic medal over the distance.

She has been training alone at her home in the leafy suburb of Elgon View in Eldoret following a government directive to ban social gatherings to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Nation Sport caught up with her at her maize farm in Ngeria, Uasin Gishu County.

Sum said that she is looking forward to a better season when competition resumes in the new schedule of the Wanda Diamond League in August after some meetings were cancelled owing to Covid-19.

“I have been following a training programme sent to us by our coach, though it’s challenging to train alone. We are used to group training which motivates us to persevere,” she said.

Sum is back to the drawing board after three races she was supposed to compete in were called off across the globe because of the virus.

She hopes to use the Diamond League races to sharpen her skills ahead of the Olympics Games that were moved to next year.

“I was in good shape for the cancelled races. I now want to use the Diamond League races to rectify small mistakes as I focus on the Olympic Games,” she said.

The athlete is also preparing to participate in the World Athletics Continental Tour which was moved to September 26 in Nairobi.

“All is not lost, and my training has been going on well. I want to improve my personal best time,” Sum said.

Concerning the Olympics Games, she said she has enough time to prepare. Her aim is to win a medal.

“My goal at the Olympics Games will be a top three finish because I’m missing an Olympic medal in my cabinet of trophies,” added Sum.

(05/27/2020) ⚡AMP
by Bernard Rotich
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe has lifted the country's state of emergency after a decline in the number of COVID-19 cases in the Tokyo 2020 host nation

Japan declared the state of emergency on April 16 after fearing a second wave of infection from the virus, and further extended it in early May.

Its introduction came a week after Tokyo, Osaka and five other urban areas had restrictions placed on them from April 7.

Many areas of the nation had previously seen the restrictions lifted, but now the remaining five prefectures will join them.

These are the Tokyo Metropolitan Area, its neighbouring areas of Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama and the northern island of Hokkaido.

The nation has seen a fall in confirmed cases over the past month, recording its lowest number of new daily cases yesterday since February 29 with 14.

It has also seen a fall in the number of active cases, reaching a peak of 11,443 on April 28 with the number now down to 2,317.

However, the city and host of the 2020 Olympics, Tokyo, saw a return to double figures for confirmed cases in a day, suggesting that the threat of infection is still there.

"We had very stringent criteria for lifting the state of emergency," Abe said in a televised press conference today.

"We have judged that we have met this criteria.

"Today we will lift the state of emergency nationwide."

Economic Revitalisation Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura told a panel today, according to Kyodo News, that the state of emergency is "no longer necessary in all prefectures".

Nishimura had suggested yesterday that this would be the announcement made with confirmed cases falling.

The day before Japan entered its state of emergency the country had 741 confirmed cases in a single day – the second highest daily rate after 743 new cases were reported on April 11.

There will still be some restrictions put in place by the Government, with citizens asked not to cross prefectural borders until the end of the month.

The first phase of lifting restrictions will see museums and libraries reopen, while restaurants will be open during the day, closing at 10pm which is two hours later than the state of emergency rules.

A second phase could start at the end of the month, which sources suggest could see shops and cinemas reopen.

However, places like gyms, karaoke bars and music venues will still be closed.

To date, there have been more than 16,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Japan, resulting in the deaths of 820 people.

The outbreak caused the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics until next year.

However, doubts remain about the rearranged Games taking place if COVID-19 remains prevalent. 

(05/26/2020) ⚡AMP
by Michael Houston
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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New Zealand Daniel Jones has said he wants to extend his stay in Kenya during the lockdown period, to help with preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Originally set for a five-week stay in the East African country, Jones faced a dilemma when nations began to close borders due to the COVID-19 pandemic .

Instead of returning home the 29-year-old chose to stay in the revered town of Iten, a haven for distance runners around the world, and has now lived there for three months.

Speaking to Newshub, Jones said he definitely misses his life at home, but knows it will be worth the sacrifice.

"I miss my partner in New Zealand, but in the long term, I think it's going to be very beneficial for my running and if this helps me put on the New Zealand singlet, then it's all worth it," he said.

He will look to join Kiwis Zane Robertson and Malcolm Hicks, who both have the qualifying standard for Tokyo 2020 after running within the 2 hours 11min 30sec time-frame. 

With Tokyo 2020 postponed to next year because of COVID-19, Jones has more time to reach the standard.

However, he will have to cut around five minutes off his personal best to make the team, having ran 2:16:15 in Gold Coast in Australia in July.

His decision to stay in Kenya could be beneficial, as he remained healthy on nutritious foods while New Zealand was under tight restrictions.

Robertson, who has benefited from training in Iten, spoke highly of Jones' potential.

"Dan is genetically gifted, he's very humble, but he also has belief in himself," he said.

"He's got the guts, he's got the right type of attitude to make it."

(05/25/2020) ⚡AMP
by Michael Houston
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Senior Olympics official John Coates has warned that holding the postponed Tokyo Games next year faces real problems

A senior Olympics official has warned that holding the postponed Tokyo Games next year faces "real problems", with even a vaccine unlikely to stave off the threat of the coronavirus.

John Coates, the International Olympic Committee's pointman for Tokyo 2020, indicated that officials would start deciding in October if and how the pandemic-hit Games could go ahead in July 2021.

He told a roundtable organised by Australian media giant News Corp that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been clear the Tokyo Olympics could not be delayed a second time.

"We can't postpone it again and we have to assume that there won't be a vaccine or, if there is a vaccine, it won't be sufficient to share around the world," he said.

Without the safety net of a widely available vaccine, there could be enormous challenges in screening tens of thousands of people from all corners of the world, he said.

"We've got real problems because we've got athletes having to come from 206 different nations," said Coates.

"We've got 11,000 athletes coming, 5,000 technical officials and coaches, 20,000 media, we've got 4,000 working on the organising committee there at the moment, there will be 60,000 volunteers coming," he said.

"There's a lot of people."

Coates said if there are signs the pandemic is contained, even if not eradicated, by October, officials will start preparing "the different scenarios by which the sport could take place".

"Do we quarantine the Olympic village? Do all athletes when they get there go into quarantine? Do we restrict having spectators at the venues? Do we separate the athletes from the mixed zone where the media are?"

(05/22/2020) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Former world race walk champ Yang Jiayu readies herself for Tokyo Olympics debut

Former world race walk champion Yang Jiayu has adjusted her training schedule due to the postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games and is readying herself for an Olympic debut.

Yang, 2017 world champion in the 20km race walk, was preparing to make her first Olympic appearance this year in Tokyo but the 24-year-old's plan was scrapped as the Tokyo Games were pushed back for one year due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

"I trained very well during the winter camp and I had a good plan. I was to compete in the national trial and get the qualification before I go to the long-awaited Olympics," Yang told the bjd.com.cn.

"But the Olympics were pushed back. I was at such a loss because I didn't know what my next goal was," she said.

The national athletics team then arranged academic classes for them and provided the athletes psychological counseling to ease the negative effects brought on by the postponement of the Games.

"I am now well adjusted. If I think from another perspective, we have one more year to prepare for the competition. Now I am in a new training cycle," Yang said.

Yang failed to defend her title in 2019 Doha World Athletics Championships after she was disqualified in the final kilometer for fouls.

(05/19/2020) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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It is not going to be easy to make next year Tokyo Olympics a safe global Gathering

The head of the World Health Organization said Saturday it will not be easy to make next year’s Tokyo Olympics a safe global gathering after the pandemic.

Speaking at a joint news conference with the IOC, the WHO’s director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called for “national unity and global solidarity” to fight the coronavirus outbreak ahead of the Olympics. The Games, postponed this year, should bring athletes from more than 200 countries to Japan.

The Summer Games opening ceremony is now due on July 23, 2021, after the International Olympic Committee and organizers in Japan used WHO advice in March before agreeing a one-year delay.

“We hope Tokyo will be a place where humanity will gather with triumph against COVID,” Tedros said at WHO headquarters.

“It is in our hands, but it is not easy. If we do our best, especially with national unity and global solidarity, I think it’s possible,” he said.

Around 11,000 athletes from more than 200 teams are due to compete at the Tokyo Olympics. Most would be joined by team officials staying in an athletes village complex of 5,600 apartments at Tokyo Bay.

Health experts, including in Japan, have questioned how the 33-sport Olympics can be run before an effective global vaccine program is in place.

“Nobody can at this moment in time really give you a reliable answer on how the world will look like in July 2021,” IOC President Thomas Bach acknowledged.

“It is too early to start speculation on different scenarios and what it may need at the time to guarantee this safe environment for all participants.”

Tedros and Bach signed a renewed working agreement between the two organizations, which aims to help promote sport to governments as part of an active and healthy lifestyle.

“The Olympics or athletics or football is not just for the athletes only,” Tedros said. “It has to be a culture for everybody and it has to be everybody’s responsibility.”

(05/17/2020) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Kenyan Faith Chepng'etich hopeful of returning stronger once the Athletics season resume

Coronavirus pandemic has put all athletics activities on hold but Olympics 1,500 meters champion and former World Champion Faith Chepng’etich Kipyegon is hoping to restore her faith in the race when the athletics season resumes.

Chepng’etich, 26, claimed silver medal at last year’s World Athletics Championships in Doha in a time of 3min, 54.22secs, more than two seconds behind Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands.

The athlete has said the cancellation of major athletics meetings is a big setback to her plans of bouncing back to the top of her speciality.

“I’m hopeful of making a strong comeback. I miss serious athletics competitions,” Chepng’etich told Nation Sport on Monday from her individual training base.

Chepng’etich, who won a gold medal in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics in a time of 4:08.92, is determined to stamp her authority as the queen of the race by retaining the Olympic crown and registering victories in the Diamond League series once the athletics season resumes proper in 2021 after the deadly virus has been contained.

“My campaign has been jolted by the arrival of coronavirus pandemic which has halted sports globally but that will not bog me down,” said Chepng’etich.

She added: “It is not easy for an athlete who has been consistent in training and strategising for major races for more than six months to adjust. However, as a true sportswoman, I’m now alive to the fact that the planned events will not be held this year.”

Ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games which have now been pushed to next year, Chepng’etich also stepped up her training to participate in the Diamond League series this year.

“My body has been responding very well to my training schedule and I have no injury worries. I was banking on the good form to prepare for a good fight with my opponents in the Diamond League and the Olympics,” said Chepng’etich.

“After the cancellation of the Olympic Games and Diamond League meetings, my training program has taken a new twist. I was hoping to make a big comeback before this deadly virus invaded our country and forced me to change my way of training and socializing inside and outside the track with my coach and other athletes,” said Chepng’etich.

“I have wonderful moments with my baby everyday after completing my morning and afternoon workouts.”

“My baby girl Alyn was born in June 2018 and is almost celebrating her second birthday. She is now big and talking. I’m enjoying the way she is keeping me busy. Her noise, perfect touch and the way she is doing some joyful little things in the living room is hilarious and makes motherhood more enjoyable after a rigorous training in the track,” added Chepng’etich.

(05/06/2020) ⚡AMP
by Francis Mureithi
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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The postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics could be cancelled if the coronavirus pandemic isn't brought under control by next year

The postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be cancelled if the coronavirus pandemic isn't brought under control by next year, the organising committee's president said in comments published Tuesday.

The pandemic has already forced a year-long delay of the Games, which are now scheduled to open on July 23, 2021, but Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori said no further postponement was possible.

In an interview with Japan's Nikkan Sports daily, Mori was categorical when asked if the Olympics could be delayed until 2022 if the pandemic remains a threat next year, replying: "No."

"In that case, it's cancelled," Mori said. 

Mori said the Games had been cancelled previously only during wartime and compared the battle against coronavirus to "fighting an invisible enemy".

If the virus is successfully contained, "we'll hold the Olympics in peace next summer", he added. "Mankind is betting on it."

Under heavy pressure from athletes and sports associations, Japanese organisers and the International Olympic Committee agreed in March to a year-long postponement of the Games.

Organisers and Japanese officials have said the delayed Olympics will be a chance to showcase the world's triumph over the coronavirus, but questions have arisen about whether even a year's postponement is sufficient.

On Tuesday, the head of Japan Medical Association warned it would be "exceedingly difficult" to hold the Games next year if a vaccine had not been found.

"I would not say that they should not be held, but it would be exceedingly difficult," Yoshitake Yokokura told reporters at a briefing.

And last week a Japanese medical expert who has criticised the country's response to the coronavirus warned that he was "very pessimistic" that the postponed Olympics can be held in 2021.

(04/28/2020) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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The 2020 sports season is lost to many sportsmen, but Eliud Kipchoge hopes to return stronger in 2021 and win a back-to-back Olympic title

In 2016, Kipchoge reclaimed Kenya's gold in the marathon, which was first won by the late Samuel Wanjiru at the magnificent Bird's Nest stadium in the 2008 Beijing Olympics but was lost at the 2012 London Games to Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda.

Now the 35-year-old is dreaming of adding another feather to his illustrious cap by having a great addition to his impressive distance running record to win the second gold on the Olympic marathon.

"If all goes well next year 2021, I will defend my title in the marathon in a competitive field and probably post a good time. It will add more to my running career," Kipchoge told the Olympic Channel.

Over a decade ago, Kipchoge felt like he had the inspiration and energy to finally get crowned the Olympic champion in Beijing.

He was making his second appearance at the Games having clinched bronze at the Athens Games in 2004. But he had to wait another eight years to win the Olympic title."I was really in shape in Beijing.

Even with two laps to go my mind was telling me, 'You will be Olympic Champion this year'. But I had no more fuel and Kenenisa Bekele won the race," he said.

Now the two men, despite missing out to meet at the London marathon on Sunday, are set to clash at the Tokyo Games in 2021. It will be their fifth meeting over the marathon distance. Kipchoge has won all four previous shows.

"It's true, Bekele beat me several times on the track. But I have won all the races in the marathon," said Kipchoge.

Kipchoge became only the second Kenyan after Wanjiru to win an Olympic marathon.

(04/27/2020) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Kenyan Margaret Chelimo says that 2020 Tokyo Olympics was her big target this season

Restriction introduced by the government to fight the spread of Covid-19 such as social distancing and banning of social gatherings has forced several athletes to take a much closer interest in their side activities.

One such athlete is world 5,000m silver medalist Margaret Chelimo. Now getting used to training individually she has found herself with more me-time at her farm in Kapng’etich in Nandi County and spends it farming.

She said that after her morning run, she goes to her farm where she has planted maize, beans, sugar cane and other crops.

When Nation Sport visited her on Sunday she was busy on her sugarcane plantation. This planting season she dedicated two acres of land to the sugar producing cash crop, a new venture for her she duly informed.

She is among many other farmers in the region who are now abandoning the traditional maize farming which they feel doesn’t bring any value to them due to poor market prices.

“I have decided to venture into sugar cane farming because I have been planting maize for a long time and I’m not getting any profits,” said Chelimo.

Of course the farming activity comes after her individual run to keep her body in shape for the season, when it will resume. Remember athletics is her main bread and butter business at this stage in her life.

Chelimo bagged silver in last year’s Doha World Athletics Championships women’s 5,000m after clocking 14:27.49 behind race winner, compatriot Hellen Obiri who timed 14:26.72.

In 2018, she won silver for Kenya in the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 5,000m, finishing second to Obiri after crossing the line in 15:15.28. Chelimo started the season explosively, winning the BOclassic Silvesterlauf 5,000m race in 15:30.

In January, Chelimo stunned World Cross Country champion Obiri to win the Cross Internacional de Italica in Seville, Spain after cutting the tape in 28:37 ahead of compatriot Beatrice Chebet (28:49).

High in confidence she was all primed to run in the Doha Diamond League series 3,000m race on April 17 before the athletics calendar was suspended following the outbreak of coronavirus.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics was her big target this season before the Games were pushed to next year.

(04/27/2020) ⚡AMP
by Bernard Rotich
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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IOC and Japan clash over who pays for additional costs arising from postponement of Tokyo 2020

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has been forced to backtrack after irritating the Japanese Government and Tokyo 2020 by suggesting Prime Minister Shinzō Abe had agreed to cover additional costs following the postponement of the Olympic Games.

In a question and answer-style statement on its website yesterday, the IOC said Abe had "agreed that Japan will continue to cover the costs it would have done under the terms of the existing agreement for 2020, and the IOC will continue to be responsible for its share of the costs".

"For the IOC, it is already clear that this amounts to several hundred millions of dollars of additional costs," the IOC added, repeating a comment made by President Thomas Bach in an interview with a German newspaper last weekend.

While Japan is obligated to cover added costs in the Host City Contract for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics it signed with the IOC in 2013, the statement prompted chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga to deny any agreement had been reached.

"It's not true there has been an agreement on an additional cost burden," he said.

The IOC has since deleted the statement, which has sparked an open conflict with organisers, referencing Abe and an agreement regarding the additional costs, reported by Kyodo News to be around $3 billion (£2.4 billion/€2.8 billion).

Tokyo 2020 spokesperson Masa Takaya said organisers had asked the IOC to remove the comment, telling a teleconference involving Japanese media that it was "not appropriate for the Prime Minister's name to be quoted in this manner".

In an update to the post today, the IOC said: "The IOC and the Japanese side, including the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, will continue to assess and discuss jointly the respective impacts caused by the postponement."

The u-turn from the IOC adds to already considerable uncertainty surrounding numerous areas of the organisation of the rescheduled Games and will be viewed by some as the IOC's latest communications error.

The IOC faced criticism from athletes and others for continuing to insist Tokyo 2020 would take place as planned this year, despite the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus, which eventually led to the postponement of the Games until 2021.

Tokyo 2020 chief executive Toshirō Mutō had previously admitted the decision will result in "massive" extra costs.

The IOC has conceded adjustments will be required to reduce additional expenditure, while John Coates, chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for Tokyo 2020, said last week those involved in the organisation of the Games would assess "all opportunities to explore the scope and service levels" at the rearranged event to find savings.

Coates also suggested some of the "nice haves" at the event, such as live celebration sites across Japan, would have to be cut to save additional costs.

(04/25/2020) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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New dates are set for the 2020 US Olympic Trials

 New dates for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials — Track & Field are set, USATF announced today. The event will take place June 18–27, 2021 in Eugene, Oregon. 

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games were postponed due to the novel coronavirus, thereby necessitating the postponement of the corresponding Olympic Trials. USATF worked closely with the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee and TrackTown USA to secure the new dates. 

The competition schedule will remain much the same. While there is a possibility that some of the timings of the competition windows may shift, the events taking place on each day will not change.

The schedule of events can be found here. Existing ticket customers will have their tickets automatically rolled over to the new dates in 2021. Customers who wish to request a refund will be able to do so at TrackTown20.com beginning on Wednesday, April 22, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. Pacific time.

Ticketing policies and procedures for refund requests will also be available at TrackTown20.com on that day. This refund process will remain open for 90 days. The Olympic Trials will be contested in a new, state-of-the-art Hayward Field at the University of Oregon.The 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Track & Field will be presented across NBC Sports’ numerous platforms. Broadcast information will be released later.

(04/24/2020) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Tokyo Olympics delay could boost my medal chances says Mo Farah

Olympic champion Mo Farah has said the delayed Games could work in his favor and boost his chances of winning gold in Tokyo.

The Olympics has been been postponed until next year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and is set to begin on July 23, 2021.

Farah, who announced his ambition to compete at the Games in November after his retirement from track athletics, said the postponement has given him more time to prepare.

"It is probably, in my honest opinion, not a bad thing for me because it gives you a bit more time to train for it, to do more races, because I would have gone from the marathon and then the following year straight to the track," he told Athletics Weekly.

"Obviously, I'm not a spring chicken any more. You take what you can from it. You'll definitely see me doing a similar thing to what you've seen before.

"Do a few races and get strong and get fit and then from there go on to the track and use the track leading up to the Tokyo Olympics."

"I'm not thinking about marathons, to be honest with you. I'm just thinking, Tokyo."

(04/23/2020) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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World 1,500m champion Timothy Cheruiyot hopes to maintain form for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics

World 1,500m champion Timothy Cheruiyot is ruing the missed chance to cement his name in the sport's folklore by winning an Olympic medal in 2020.

Cheruiyot, 24, had high expectations this season, but all that has disappeared as he can't train or compete in any event at the moment.

The Diamond League has been postponed with the first race likely in August and the Olympic Games have been pushed back to 2021. Now, he is left with doing his part-time job, farming.

"Of course I had set my sights on winning my fourth Diamond League trophy and the Olympic Games," said Cheruiyot on Monday from his home in Bomet.

Cheruiyot had hoped to use the top form he has enjoyed recently to challenge some of the times set in the distance, defend the Diamond Trophy and win the Tokyo Olympics.

Now he will have to wait, hoping he will find similar form in 2021, to hunt for medals and records.

"Hopefully, I will be in the same form as last season. But we have to accept to live with things we can't change. We have to accept the postponement of the Games because nothing much could have been done," he said.

Cheruiyot says the world will emerge stronger after the coronavirus and it is important that athletes continue training no matter how hard it is to do alone.

"Of course, we are finding ourselves in a very difficult situation as athletes but we take heart because it is a global problem. We will overcome it and sports will be back on the big stage," Cheruiyot said.

Kenyan athletes will have a tough choice to make in 2021 when most sports events are expected to return. There will be the Commonwealth Games, the Olympic Games, the Diamond League, Africa Championships and Continental Tour.

Some of these events, running from May to August, are so close that it will be hard to see some athletes doubling up or competing in subsequent races.

"For me, being able to race again will be enough," said Helen Obiri, the world 5,000m champion. "I have no plans on doubling, because now what is important is being safe, healthy and focused. Coronavirus will end and we will return to action."

(04/21/2020) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Despite the epidemic in 1920, Olympics went ahead

It’s a macabre coincidence that the lead-up to the Olympic Games of 100 years ago was fraught with a universal calamity all too similar to that which we are now facing in 2020.

Already by January of 1919 there had been 400,000 deaths reported in the USA alone from the “Spanish Influenza” epidemic which was ravaging the world, but there was no question of that country – the most successful at the Games since their revival in 1896 – withdrawing from the next celebration planned for 1920. Far from it.

In March 1919 the Central News Agency in New York reported the definitive decision of the US sports administrators: “In reply to a query from the Swedish Athletic Association, prominent officials here at the Amateur Athletic Union declared ‘America stands ready to send a representative athletic team to the next Olympic Games, regardless of the time or place which may be designated’”.

The members of the French Olympic Committee – whose opinion counted for much as founders of the modern Olympic movement – were more circumspect, but their hesitation had nothing to do with health matters. They declared, “The Olympic Games should not be held before 1921 as there would not be sufficient time for the Allied countries which have supported, and are still supporting, the burdens of the war to prepare adequately for a meeting in 1920”.

Those burdens of war had, of course, been horrendous. There had been an estimated 8.6 million military fatalities – 1.3 million of them in France and over 900,000 throughout the British Empire – and yet the toll from influenza between 1918 and 1920 would be far greater. Though there was not even public radio in those days there was still widespread newspaper reporting of the epidemic but no screaming headlines of doom-laden predictions. The Minister of Health in Great Britain, for instance, announced in July 1919 that in the six months to 31 March there had been 136,000 deaths from influenza in England and Wales, but this caused no barrage of demands from Members of Parliament for immediate Government action. To provide some sort of perspective, in his same address to the House of Commons the Minister reported that there had been 488,000 visits to venereal disease treatment centres the previous year. The MPs moved on, undisturbed, to other business.

No thought was apparently given to the idea of suspending major international sporting events attracting thousands of spectators. Already in 1919, in the euphoria of peace at last, there had been an Inter-Allied Games held from 22 June to 6 July at the Stade Pershing, in Paris, specially built for the occasion by the US Army, in which 1500 athletes from 18 nations took part. Then, when the protracted Olympic Games of 1920 opened in Antwerp as per schedule on 20 April, lasting until 12 September; there were actually more competitors than there had been in the Stockholm Olympics of 1912 (2607 as against 2547) and one more country (29).

Why was there such indifference at these mass gatherings to the health implications? Well, that’s a question which needs more expertise to answer fully than that of a mere athletics writer with an interest in history, but perhaps a salient factor is that the populace of a century ago lived with the impact of infectious diseases every day of their lives to a far greater extent than we do today, and though there were strong views expressed on the wisdom of taking part in an Olympic Games these were for other reasons entirely.

In Britain a campaign to boycott the Games on the grounds that they were getting too seriously competitive was led by no less a person than Sir Theodore Cook, who had helped organise the 1908 London Games and had written the Official Report and become an International Olympic Committee member! For those reasons, his views were naturally given due attention but were out-weighed most notably by the counter-arguments of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes and an avid athletics enthusiast. Then Sir Theodore rather undermined his stance by entering the literature section of the Olympic Arts competitions in Antwerp and taking second place!

(04/20/2020) ⚡AMP
by Bob Phillips
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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The ruling decathlon world champion Niklas Kaul intends to use the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to work on his weaknesses

"For me, as a younger athlete, the postponement to 2021 due to the corona crisis is only a minor problem. It gives me the chance to improve and work on my apparent gaps and update my technical skills in several topics," the 22-year-old 2019 Doha winner commented.

Inner conflicts might, in the first place, tear older athletes as many intended to take the 2020 Olympics as their career ends.

Some might decide to add another year and months of intense training efforts. Others have to face the hard truth of an unexpected end of their career as a sportsman.

"We all know that sport is only playing a side role at present. Health is the most important topic for society," the youngest athlete ever to win the decathlon crown added.

Restricted training is providing the opportunity to concentrate on other things, the Mainz-born university student said.

This week he joined a list of sports celebrities cheering triathlon champion Jan Frodeno as a virtual crowd.

The German ironman winner set up a home triathlon to raise money for charity projects around his adopted home town Girona in Spain. Like many parts of the country, the region has been struck by the virus crisis.

"I am happy to be part of Jan's fantastic challenge to some extent as he deserves respect for action like that in hard times," Kaul emphasized. Frodeno managed to collect over 200 000 euros from fans, sponsor partners, and fellow sportspeople.

Athletes must be creative at present, Kaul stated. "Current training efforts are far from what we do in normal times. Things usually look different ahead of a major event like the Olympics," the student on his way to be a teacher of physics and sports at the Johannes Gutenberg-University commented.

"To reduce the effort was a mental problem for most of us as it came somehow unexpectedly," he added. He feels exceptionally sorry for athletes having to quit now. "For many athletes, this was the last chance to attend the Olympic Games."

To care for the staff of clubs and associations is the most important task now. "All parts of society are affected, and help is needed for many people in trouble since the virus outbreak," he underlined.

For athletes who decided to continue, the goal must be to use the break in the best possible way. He called it an unknown challenge. "The ones making the best out of a difficult situation will be the ones benefitting most in the end."

He decided to subordinate everything possible to be ready when the Games take place in 2021. To shift the Games to 2021 was the right step, he stressed.

Kaul stopped a training camp in South Africa after the announcement of the IOC to shift the Games to next year.

The decathlon athlete expects the European Championships scheduled for the end of August to be postponed as well.

Until further plans can be set up, he sticks to jogging, ergometer training, and a little jumping around in the backyard," he said. "We have some weights and medicine balls around."

Kaul emphasized training like that is only suitable to keep a certain fitness level. Sprints and technique training can't take place orderly.

While the break is taking off pressure from athletes' shoulders, it must be clear "that we can't go on like that for several months."

(04/17/2020) ⚡AMP
by Oliver Trust
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Faith Chepng’etich has said her main priority remains defending the title she won in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 when the Olympics are held in Tokyo after coronavirus-enforced postponement

Olympics 1,500 metres champion Faith Chepng’etich, who also won the world title in London in 2017, has been training alone following government ban on public gatherings and sports activities.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games were postponed to 2021 in view of the coronavirus pandemic.

Talking to Nation Sport on phone at her home in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County, Chepng’etich yesterday said she as embarked on long runs and speed work to stay fit as she waits for coronavirus pandemic to be contained.

The athlete has said she is in good shape, having recovered from a hip injury she suffered at the 2019 World Championships and had been looking forward to posting good results at the Olympics in Tokyo before the games were postponed to next year.

“I was in good shape this year and I was hopeful of retaining my title and to even run my personal best compared to last season. The virus has stopped the world and we just have to understand and wait,” said Chepng’etich who trains under the Global Sports Communication in Kaptagat, Elgeyo Marakwet County.

The athlete said her plan was to use the Diamond League races to gauge her performance ahead of the Olympics, but she must now continue training for next season.

(04/17/2020) ⚡AMP
by Bernard Rotich
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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The International Olympic Committee will face several hundred million dollars of added costs because of the postponement of the Tokyo Games

President of  the International Olympic Comittee, Thomas Bach spoke in an interview with German newspaper Die Welt on Sunday.

Estimates in Japan put the overall cost of the postponement at $2 billion-$6 billion. Except for the IOC portion, all added costs will be borne by the Japanese side according to an agreement signed in 2013 when Tokyo was awarded the Olympics.

Bach said it was “impossible to say for now” the extent of the added costs for the IOC caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We agreed with the prime minister that Japan will continue to cover the costs it would have done under the terms of the existing agreement for 2020, and the IOC will continue to be responsible for its share of the costs,” Bach said. “For us, the IOC, it is already clear that we shall be faced with several hundred million dollars of additional costs.”

Before the postponement, Japanese organizers put the official cost of the games at $12.6 billion. However, a government audit report in 2019 said the costs were at least twice that. All but $5.6 billion of it is in taxpayer money.

Tokyo said the 2020 Games would cost about $7.3 billion when it won the bid seven years ago.

On Friday, the CEO of the Tokyo organizing committee said the pandemic left some doubts about the games going ahead next year.

“I don’t think anyone would be able to say if it is going to be possible to get it under control by next July or not,” Toshiro Muto said, speaking through an interpreter. “We certainly are not in a position to give you a clear answer.”

Bach was asked about the possibility of another postponement. He did not answer directly, but said later in the interview that Japanese organizers and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe “made it very clear to me that Japan could not manage a postponement beyond next summer at the latest.”

Bach was also asked if the pandemic provided an opportunity for some athletes to violate the doping rules with no threat of testing. Bach countered that the delay could allow new testing methods to be developed. He also said tests made before the Olympics would be saved for 10 years for retesting.

(04/16/2020) ⚡AMP
by Stephen wade
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Matej Toth hopes his body can withstand one extra of year of training in his push to claim back-to-back Olympic 50km race walk titles in Tokyo next year

Following the decision by the International Olympic Committee to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by a year following the Covid-19 crisis, thousands of athletes have had to adjust their plans to peak for the summer of 2021.

Given the fact Toth has not completed a race for more than 18 months, the delayed Olympics would appear to be an advantage for the Slovakian, although he does not necessarily read the situation that way.

“My case is little bit complicated because I’m not sure if I’ll be able to make one more suitable winter preparation,” explains Toth, who will be aged 38 next year. “For me, it would be ideal if the Olympics was in October. But my personal benefit is not as important as the benefits of the majority of athletes.”

Currently in lockdown in Banská Bystrica, Toth, who is hoping to become only the second man in history to successfully defend an Olympic 50km race walk title, has experienced the full range of emotions in recent weeks.

In fantastic shape after a training camp in Tenerife and preparing to make his seasonal debut at the well-established international race walking meet in the Slovak spa town of Dudince in March, the coronavirus outbreak put an end to his plans.

“We tried to concentrate on training for as long as possible,” explains Toth. “But after the last training camp in Tenerife (we returned on 29 February) we realised the (Covid-19) problem is very serious. The competition was cancelled two weeks ahead of schedule. We tried to find other races, but day after day they were all cancelled too.

“It was very frustrating, I had been preparing for more than three months to complete in Dudince, with only one goal: to achieve the entry standard for Tokyo. I was very disappointed and sad. I thought I might as well throw my fitness in the rubbish bin. I was frustrated I could not compete but at that stage it seemed as though the Olympics would still go ahead. I realised it was impossible to do the entry standard and prepare for the Olympics – I didn’t have enough time for both.”

Yet once the IOC announced a postponement of the Games by a year to 2021, the decision brought clarity to athletes and it acted as a huge personal relief to Toth, who last completed a race when earning 50km silver at the 2018 European Championships in Berlin.

“The most important thing is the stress now eases,” says the 2015 world champion. “Now we can solve the most important thing – the health of the world. Before the decision to postpone the Games, we were under pressure. It was like we had fallen between two stools: preparing for Olympics and doing everything we could to stay healthy.”

(04/15/2020) ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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There is no backup plan if the postponed Olympic Games can not be held in the summer of 2021

Tokyo Olympics organizers have no backup plan in the event the 2020 Summer Games, now postponed until 2021, must be postponed once again, a spokesman for the Games said on Tuesday.

The Associated Press reported that organizers are still moving forward with plans to launch the Games in July next year.

“We are working toward the new goal,” Tokyo Olympics spokesman Masa Takaya told journalists in a phone call on Tuesday. “We don’t have a B plan.”

He added that “Tokyo 2020 and all concerned parties now are doing their very best effort to deliver the games next year.”

The Games were set to begin this summer in Tokyo, and officials were initially reluctant to suggest the spread of coronavirus could disrupt plans for them to go ahead as planned. Some countries, citing concerns over the virus, said they would not send their athletes to the Games if they took place this summer. But Japan and the International Olympic Committee did not formally postpone the Games until late last month, as the pandemic continued to dramatically upheave daily life around the globe.

 

(04/14/2020) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Kenyan steeplechase star was aiming for another global gold and a world record in 2020, but coronavirus outbreak has forced him to go back to the drawing board

Conseslus Kipruto knows what it takes to become an Olympic and world champion: talent, hard work, a never-say-die attitude. This, after all, is the man who won the Diamond League final two years ago wearing just one shoe.

But now the 25-year-old Kenyan will have to find another quality: patience. The postponement of Tokyo 2020 means Kipruto will have to wait another year to defend his Olympic title.

“It’s very disappointing, but we understand what’s going on in the world because of this coronavirus,”  he tells me from his home in Eldoret. “The way I’ve trained, the aim was to defend my title in Tokyo, but the IOC made the right decision, in my opinion.”

Kipruto has won four major 3000m steeplechase titles in the last four years. The first came at the Rio Olympics in 2016, followed by his maiden world title in London in 2017 and then gold at the Commonwealth Games the following year. Last year, he missed several months of vital training with an ankle injury. But he built a pool in his back garden, regained his fitness through aqua-jogging and went on to retain his world title in Doha by the thickness of his vest. It was an extraordinary story.

And he had been taking that impressive form into his preparations for Tokyo.

“My preparation was going very well,” he says. “We were pushing hard and actually I was on course to defend my title in Tokyo and was hoping to run a world record or close to a world record, so you can see why I am disappointed.”

Like thousands of athletes all over the world, Kipruto finds himself in fabulous shape but with no competitive racing on the horizon. There’s no guarantee that he’ll be in the same condition in 12 months’ time and the knock-on postponement of the World Championships in Eugene to 2022 means his next two years will have to be recalibrated.

“It’s really frustrating because I don’t know about next year,” he says. “My plans and my prayers were to have the Olympics this year and in 2021 to defend my title at the World Championships and then in 2022 to go to the Commonwealth Games (in Birmingham). Now I don’t know and I’ll have to go back to the drawing board.”

(04/14/2020) ⚡AMP
by Chris Dennis
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is suspended from April 6 2020 until November 30 2020

World Athletics announces today the qualification period for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is suspended effective from 6 April 2020 until 30 November 2020 included, following consultation with its Athletes' Commission, Area Presidents and Council.

During this period, results achieved at any competition will not be considered for Tokyo 2020 entry standards or world rankings, the publication of which will also be suspended.

Results will continue to be recorded for statistical purposes, including for world records, subject to the applicable conditions. But they will not be used to establish an athlete’s qualification status.

Subject to the global situation returning to normal, the qualification period will resume on 1 December 2020 and continue to the new qualification deadline in 2021 set by the International Olympic Committee (see qualification period table at the end). The total qualification period, which started in 2019, will be four months longer than it was originally.

Commenting on the decision, World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said: “I am grateful for the detailed work and feedback from our Athletes' Commission and Council who believe suspending Olympic qualification during this period gives more certainty for athlete planning and preparation and is the best way to address fairness in what is expected to be the uneven delivery of competition opportunities across the globe for athletes given the challenges of international travel and government border restrictions.”

Athletes who have already met the entry standard since the start of the qualification period in 2019 remain qualified and will be eligible for selection by their respective Member Federations and National Olympic Committees, together with the other athletes who will qualify within the extended qualification period. The end of the Olympic qualification periods are 31 May 2021 (for 50km race walk and marathon) and 29 June 2021 for all other events.

(04/08/2020) ⚡AMP
by world Athletics
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Facilities for the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games could reportedly be used to help accommodate people with mild coronavirus symptoms

The Olympic Games was postponed last week due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen over one million confirmed cases since the outbreak began in China.

The Olympics has been rescheduled to July 23 to August 8 2021, with the Paralympics due to take place from August 24 to September 5 2021.

According to the Nikkei Asian Review, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government are considering using facilities which would have been used for the Olympic Games this summer to house coronavirus patients.

The Athletes’ Village is reportedly one of the venues being considered.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government are reportedly hoping to house people with mild symptoms of coronavirus.

It is claimed that this could reduce the risk of infected patients passing the coronavirus to members of their family, which would potentially spread the virus further.

Numerous facilities used for sporting events have been transformed to help countries combat coronavirus.

The Athletes' Village for the Lima 2019 Pan American Games is among the sporting venues to have opened its doors as a coronavirus medical facility.

The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi is set to be converted into a quarantine facility.

The 60,000 seat venue was used for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, with athletics also held there. 

Lord's Cricket Ground, which hosted the archery contests during the London 2012 Olympic Games, is offering its space to local hospitals.

Part of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York is set to be turned into a 350-bed temporary hospital, with the venue normally hosting the US Open each year in August and September. 

Facilities from Rio 2016 and the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games have already been put to use, while the ExCeL Centre in London, a venue for the 2012 Games, has just opened as a temporary hospital.

Tokyo Government officials are also negotiating to lease hotel buildings to secure further accommodation.

The drive follows an increase in coronavirus cases in Japan’s capital city in recent days.

A total of 89 new coronavirus cases were reported today in Tokyo, according to Kyodo News.

The number of overall cases in total has risen to over 770.

Japan has had more than 2,600 coronavirus cases in total since the outbreak started.

A total of 63 deaths have been recorded in Japan from coronavirus to date.

The rise in cases has led to Government officials encouraging the public to stay at home and refrain from making non-essential journeys.

Countries worldwide are seeking to slow the spread of the coronavirus, which has killed over 56,000 people.

(04/07/2020) ⚡AMP
by Michael Pavitt
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Donn Cabral eyeing Tokyo 2021 while recognizing wider ramifications of postponement is really tough

After a couple of self-described “subpar” running years, Donn Cabral had finally rediscovered his groove in December and was getting excited over what the future held — in his mind, a strong chance at qualifying for a third Olympics appearance to close out his career.

His dream isn’t dead now that the Tokyo Games have been postponed until July 23, 2021, amid the coronavirus pandemic; he’ll just have to adjust his plans. But Cabral, who grew up in Glastonbury, considers himself one of the more fortunate Tokyo hopefuls. He’s already represented the U.S. in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in both London and Rio. Not everyone can say that.

“It takes a lot of fire every day, and it takes a lot of energy to generate that fire, to get up and do that hard work,” Cabral said in a phone interview. “And to think about, 'Can I do this for one more year just to have my shot at that dream?’ and to know that that dream is still only just a chance, that’s a very difficult thing. So pushing this back a year is really tough.

“My heart really goes out for people who haven’t made a team yet, and particularly for those who are in the best shape of their lives. It’s very difficult to get back to that same level. They had a chance to make it this time, and it’s like, ‘I wanted to strike when the iron was hot,' and now it’s going to be difficult.”

After initially delaying a decision on the 2020 Games, which were originally scheduled to begin July 24, the IOC and Japan finally reached an agreement last week to postpone them to 2021. USA Track & Field’s Olympic trials, originally set to take place in late June, will be rescheduled. Depending on the virus’ spread, the organization will try to salvage competition for the remainder of 2020 so athletes can earn some income and stay fit both physically and emotionally.

The 30-year-old Cabral, who says he’ll likely stop running professionally going into 2022, is relieved that the Tokyo Olympics will only be delayed a year. He thought the IOC would push the Games to 2022 in anticipation of, as he fears, the coronavirus outbreak not being fully under control a year from now.

“If it were in 2022, I wouldn’t have gone for it,” said Cabral, who finished eighth in the steeplechase in both 2012 and 2016. “I would have finished my career content with London and Rio. But I certainly would like to get that third Olympics in there.”

For Cabral, an extra year of training isn’t necessarily an issue, though he does have some logistical things to work out. For one, he’ll need to decide whether to take another semester off of school to train, as he did this spring in preparation for Tokyo. The Princeton grad is working on earning both a Master of Business Administration and Juris Doctor degree at UConn.

If some form of competition resumes in the summer or fall, Cabral will also need to decide whether to train for the steeplechase, his bread and butter, or try to move up to a 10K, half-marathon or marathon. Though that’s dependent on which events will ultimately be offered. But in the immediate future, Cabral can mostly operate as normal. Unlike sprinters, who are most affected by the closure of training facilities and gyms nationwide, he can run in the woods or on the streets — just not with other people.

Even though postponement was the best decision for everyone’s safety, the ramifications of the move will be felt deeply among Olympic hopefuls, Cabral said, and not just physically.

(04/02/2020) ⚡AMP
by Alexa Philippou
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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The postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has confirmed

An agreement was reached on Monday after a call between leaders from the IOC, Tokyo 2020 organizers, the Japanese government and the International Paralympic Committee.

The Summer Games had been scheduled to run from July 24 to August 8 this year, but it was announced last week by Bach and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that the Olympics had been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The new dates for the Paralympic Games are August 24 to September 5, 2021.

"Humankind currently finds itself in a dark tunnel," Bach said in a statement. "These Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 can be a light at the end of this tunnel.

"With this announcement, I am confident that, working together with the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Japanese Government and all our stakeholders, we can master this unprecedented challenge."

The IOC says the decision on the new dates was taken "to protect the health of the athletes and everyone involved, and to support the containment of the COVID-19 virus."

It believes the new dates -- exactly a year later than originally scheduled -- will provide the least disruption to an already crowded 2021 sporting calendar, while also giving athletes enough time to complete the qualification process.

"I am convinced that taking this decision promptly will help speed up future preparations," said Tokyo 2020 president Mori Yoshirō.

"I would like to thank all the stakeholders, including the host city Tokyo and the Government of Japan, for their hard work during this short period. The Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee will continue to work hard for the success of next year's Games."

Despite now being confirmed for 2021, the Games will still be known as Tokyo 2020 despite the postponement.

It is the first time in history that the Olympics have been postponed during peacetime, with the Games in 1916, 1940 and 1944 canceled because of world wars.

The new dates clash with the World Athletics Championships, which were due to take place in Oregon, USA from August 6 to August 15, 2021.

The sport's governing body, World Athletics, says it is already searching for a new slot as it looks to postpone the competition by a year.

Everyone needs to be flexible and compromise and to that end we are now working with the organizers of the World Athletics Championships in Oregon on new dates in 2022 for our World Athletics Championships," it said in a statement.

"We would like to thank our Oregon 21 Organizing Committee, their stakeholders and our partners for their collaboration and willingness to explore all options."

(03/30/2020) ⚡AMP
by Matias Grez
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Eliud Kipchoge says that we will win fight against coronavirus

Eliud Kipchoge, the world's greatest marathon man, reckoned his first reaction was shock when he heard at home in Kenya that the 2020 Olympic Games had been postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.

That shock soon gave way to disappointment - but then defiance.

"We will win this fight against the COVID-19," the barrier-breaking Kenyan, who's widely considered the world's finest runner, said in an interview with Reuters.

And the man who last year became the first to run a marathon in under two hours confirmed he can see himself refreshed and ready to defend his marathon title in a rearranged Tokyo Olympics next year.

For the moment, though, the 35-year-old insists his only concern is to care for his family at their home in Eldoret.

"I am totally concentrating on my safety, I am totally concentrating on the safety of the whole family," he said.

"We will win this fight against the COVID-19," the barrier-breaking Kenyan, who's widely considered the world's finest runner, said in an interview with Reuters.

And the man who last year became the first to run a marathon in under two hours confirmed he can see himself refreshed and ready to defend his marathon title in a rearranged Tokyo Olympics next year.

For the moment, though, the 35-year-old insists his only concern is to care for his family at their home in Eldoret.

"I am totally concentrating on my safety, I am totally concentrating on the safety of the whole family," he said.

"I was a little shocked and I had to go back, just to think more. I think and then I said, 'it's not a bad idea to actually postpone'.

"You know the Olympic Games is whereby everybody wants to participate ... it's in the dreams of every sportsman in this world.."

Kipchoge thinks a delayed Olympics could actually benefit his title defence.

"It's a great time for us to go back, train again and we will come back with a lot of energy," he said.

The pandemic has led to the postponement or cancellation of sporting events around the world, including the London Marathon, which next month was scheduled to be Kipchoge's first outing since October's landmark one hour, 59 minutes, 40 seconds run in Vienna.

Even though the run in Austria did not count as a world record because of the special conditions, the feat captured the world's imagination and brought Kipchoge a whole new level of fame.

Kenya has confirmed 42 coronavirus cases, including one fatality, with the country having imposed restrictive measures to arrest the spread of the disease. It even affects their brilliant runners.

But working together within a couple of months to come, this COVID-19 will go away.

"My priority number one is to get the virus away, come back with one mind, one thinking, one line of actually standing and competing."

(03/30/2020) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Boston resident Molly Seidel qualified for the Olympic marathon but she’s worried about what happens now

The trials was one of the best days of my life, Seidel said. “To potentially have that taken away is very stressful."

When Molly Seidel reflects on the day she qualified for the 2020 Summer Olympics, she’s reminded of a seemingly distant reality.

“Just thinking back to the huge number of crowds that were there and the hugs after the race,” recalled Seidel in a telephone interview Tuesday afternoon. “Hell, just sitting down at a restaurant afterward. We all went out to a bar that night, too, and shared drinks at the bar. It’s a completely different world than the one we’re in now.”

Less than a month ago, Seidel placed second in the US Olympic marathon trials to punch her ticket to Tokyo. The 25-year-old Boston resident finished the race, her first-ever marathon, with a time of 2:27:31, just eight seconds behind Aliphine Tuliamuk.

As the threat of the coronavirus escalated rapidly, and the list of postponed or canceled sporting events grew, Seidel started to consider the possibility more and more. Could the Olympics really go on as scheduled?

She wasn’t shocked when the postponement became official Tuesday.

“I just don’t think there is any way we could be planning for an Olympics four months from now, especially when the country is going through such a difficult time and the world is going through such a difficult time,” said Seidel. “It would have put a lot of athletes and spectators and just the general public in a lot of danger.”

While Seidel agrees with the International Olympic Committee’s decision, she is certainly disappointed. She’s also incredibly frustrated. The US Olympic & Paralympic Committee, Seidel says, has not been forthcoming with updates. The lack of communication leaves her worried about her status.

There has been some chatter about whether runners should have to re-qualify, given the extended period of time between the marathon trials, which took place Feb. 29, and the rescheduled Games, which do not yet have new dates.

Seidel is hopeful that won’t be the case.

“The trials was one of the best days of my life,” she said. “To potentially have that taken away is very stressful. I’m hoping that they honor the Olympic trials and keep their current marathon team, but we haven’t heard anything from USOC, USATF, from anybody. It’s been difficult getting the information that we need.”

Fellow marathoner Des Linden, who placed fourth in the trials, doesn’t foresee a re-qualification. Linden recently called Seidel to express her support.

“I haven’t heard anything from governing bodies, and I would imagine that they’re not even entertaining that idea,” Linden said. “I think it’s just kind of interesting talk right now, particularly with so much time on our hands.”

Amid the uncertainty, Seidel is still training. She frequently runs on the Esplanade and will soon ramp up her mileage after recovering from the trials. Her coach, who lives locally, is encouraging her to make the best of the extra year, especially considering the fact she’s participated in only one marathon.

Should road races resume this fall, Seidel is looking forward to gaining more experience at the distance.

In her free time, Seidel enjoys binging “Gilmore Girls,” reading, and practicing her banjo and ukulele. She no longer has a job or a roommate, as Tatte cut most of its staff amid the coronavirus outbreak and her sister moved back to their home state of Wisconsin for the time being. But Seidel’s doing her best to make due.

“It was so weird coming off that huge emotional high at the trials,” she said. “Now, it’s just like, ‘OK, back to quarantine.’”

(03/27/2020) ⚡AMP
by Nicole Yang
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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After postponement of 2020 Tokyo Olympics, elite athletes share sorrow, perspective

Former University of Oregon sprinter English Gardner was looking at the big picture when the news broke Tuesday that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics were being postponed for a year because of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

Gardner has a 2016 Olympic gold medal from the Team USA women’s 4x100 relay and big hopes for Tokyo.

But she fully supports the decision by the International Olympic Committee and Japanese organizers to postpone.

“I’m bigger than track and field,” Gardner said. “I’m part of the community. I’m a human being. I’m a sister. I’m a mother. I’m a girlfriend. I’m a godmother. As a whole world, we’re kind of going through it right now. It’s OK that the Games got postponed because this problem, this illness, this sickness is way bigger than Tokyo.”

Gardner is among the Olympic-level athletes and coaches who spoke to The Oregonian/OregonLive on Tuesday about the postponement. They shared varying mixtures of relief, resignation, disappointment and hope for the future.

Shortly after the decision about the Olympics became public, the TrackTown USA local organizing committee announced the U.S. Olympic trials for track and field scheduled for June at Hayward Field in Eugene also had been postponed.

In most of the country, athletes are living in various degrees of social isolation as state, regional and municipal governments try to slow the spread of the virus. In many cases it has affected their ability to train.

Maybe worse has been the uncertainty of not knowing what the future holds and watching major sporting events be canceled or postponed, one after another. It seemed only a matter of time before the Olympics became the next domino to fall.

“I wasn’t super surprised,” said Shelby Houlihan of the Portland-based Bowerman Track Club and reigning USA Track & Field outdoor women’s champion in the 1,500 and 5,000 meters. “I figured it was probably going to happen. But it still kind of sucks.

“Obviously, it was probably for the best because of the situation we’re in. Safety should definitely be the No. 1 priority. But it does suck because I was ready for this year.”

Marathoner Galen Rupp said he planned to keep training and keep perspective.

The former University of Oregon star won an Olympic silver medal in the men’s 10,000 meters in 2012 and a bronze in the marathon in 2016. He already had made the 2020 U.S. Olympic team by winning the marathon trials on Feb. 29 in Atlanta.

Evan Jager of the Bowerman Track Club is the 2016 Olympic silver medalist in the men’s steeplechase. He said he had a strong winter of training and liked his positioning heading into the outdoor season. But he believes this step back can turn to be a bigger step forward.

(03/27/2020) ⚡AMP
by Ken Goe
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Eliud Kipchoge says the IOC and the Japanese government made the right decision to postpone the Tokyo Olympic Games and move it to 2021

Marathon great Eliud Kipchoge, who was due to defend his Olympics marathon title in the 2020 Tokyo Games later this year, said the decision by the IOC and the Japanese Government was the right one as the world battles to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

"All in all a very wise decision to postpone the Olympics until 2021. I look forward to come back to Japan to defend my Olympic title next year and look forward to witness a wonderful event. I wish everybody good health in these challenging times," the world marathon record holder tweeted.

Kipchoge, who is in the Kenyan men's marathon team along side Boston and Chicago marathons champion Lawrence Cherono and World Championships marathon bronze medalist Amos Kipruto, won the 2016 Rio Olympics gold medal in 2 hours 8 minutes 44 seconds.

Kipchoge became the first man to run the full marathon in under two hours after his 1:59:40.2 feat during the Ineos Challenge in Vienna last year.

Olympics javelin silver medalist Julius Yego also took to his Instagram account to express his views over the postponement of the Games to 2021.

"It's been all fun and smiles and happiness in preparation for this year's Tokyo Olympics but then the unexpected came!#Covid-19!! Terrible and scaring respiratory disease! But it's all upon us to compete against our dear opponents, we together on this fight to overcome the world pandemic, see you next year in Tokyo at the very least, stay safe and stay home," said Yego.

(03/26/2020) ⚡AMP
by Japheth Mutinda
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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When would be a good time to hold the postponed Olympic Games in Tokyo?

Until now, the Summer Olympics had never been postponed. But on Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee and the Japanese organizers gave in to the inevitable amid the surging coronavirus pandemic and delayed the Tokyo Games for a year because of “the unprecedented and unpredictable spread of the outbreak.”

Cancellation was a nonstarter. The world’s athletes, who are the centerpiece of the event, would have had their dreams snatched away.

But the IOC, which desperately — and critics said foolishly — had stalled for more time, had no choice but to push the Olympics into next year.

There was no possible way that 11,000 athletes from more than 200 nations could safely convene and compete in Tokyo or any other major city in late July.

The question now is, when would be a prudent time to hold the Games of the XXXIInd Olympiad?

(03/25/2020) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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The International Olympic Committee and Tokyo 2020 organizers have officially announced the Games will be postponed until 2021

The Tokyo Olympic Games have officially been postponed, the IOC announced Tuesday morning. The decision comes after weeks of reassurances from the IOC and Tokyo 2020 organizers that the Games would go ahead as planned, despite global concerns regarding the coronavirus outbreak.

Many people around the world—including athletes and national sport governing bodies—have been calling for postponement, but it took the withdrawal of the Canadian and Australian Olympic Committees to push the IOC to this point. 

IOC President Thomas Bach and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed that the COVID-19 pandemic was becoming too much to handle, and they decided that postponement was the right route to take. The IOC’s statement says the Olympics will be rescheduled “not later than summer 2021.” Regardless of when they are held, the Games will keep the name “Tokyo 2020.”

The Olympic Games have been cancelled on three occasions—1916, 1940 and 1944—all due to war. Tokyo 2020 will be the first postponement of a Games, however. The postponement will come as a relief to people across the world, and it keeps the Olympic dream alive for many Canadian athletes. 

(03/24/2020) ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games has been postponed to next summer

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has decided to postpone the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games which were both scheduled for the summer of 2020.

Thomas Bach, president of the IOC, has set a four-week deadline period to decide on the new dates for the international sporting events.

The decision to postpone the 2020 Olympic Games, which would've been held between July 24 and August 9, has been taken due to the coronavirus outbreak and will be made official in the next few hours.

IOC have ruled out cancelling the events but have finally given in to pressure from important federations such as that of the United Kingdom and the United States.

In the upcoming weeks, Tokyo Olympics organisers have to deal with several legal implications in regard to ongoing contracts, insurance fees, future inhabitants who have already bought buildings in the Olympic Village and the extra cost of their maintenance.

(03/23/2020) ⚡AMP
by Gerardo Riquelme
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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The Canadian and Australian Olympic Committees have decided not to field teams at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Canada and Australia will not send athletes to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo because of the risks associated with the coronavirus outbreak, the Olympic committees for both countries said in separate statements on Sunday. 

Both countries' Olympic committees also are calling for the Games to be postponed until 2021. 

"While we recognize the inherent complexities around a postponement, nothing is more important than the health and safety of our athletes and the world community," the Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee said in a joint statement. "This is not solely about athlete health -- it is about public health."

The Australian Olympic Committee's executive board met by teleconference Sunday morning and unanimously agreed that an Australian Olympic team could not be assembled given the changing circumstances across the world, the committee said in a statement.

The committee also said "our athletes now need to prioritise their own health and of those around them, and to be able to return to the families."

"It's clear the Games can't be held in July," said Ian Chesterman, Australian Team Chef de Mission for Tokyo. "Our athletes have been magnificent in their positive attitude to training and preparing, but the stress and uncertainty has been extremely challenging for them."

IOC says its not canceling the Olympics.  The committees' decisions came hours after International Olympic Committee's executive board said it is considering postponing -- but not canceling -- this summer's Olympic Games in Tokyo because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The IOC board said it is considering several options to deal with the ongoing outbreak, including modifying plans to allow the 2020 Tokyo Games to begin on schedule on July 24 or changing the start date for the Games.

IOC considers postponing Tokyo Games but says it won't cancel them

The IOC executive board ruled out canceling the Games, saying it would "destroy the Olympic dream of 11,000 athletes" and all those who support them, according to a letter to athletes from IOC President Thomas Bach.

The Canadian statement thanked the IOC for saying it would not cancel the games, saying the IOC appreciates the "the importance of accelerating its decision-making regarding a possible postponement."

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that a decision to postpone the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics may be needed if the Games cannot be held in a complete form.

(03/22/2020) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Training under lockdown, Italian athletes aiming to keep upbeat and focused

Since the spread of the deadly New Coronavirus began earlier this year, athletes, like everyone else, have been forced to adjust. First, those things directly related to their athletic pursuits: their schedules, their training, their travel. As the virus continued to spread across the planet, those adjustments moved from the professional to the personal and are now impacting on most aspects of their lives -where and when they can eat and shop, who they can see and who they can't – just like the rest of us.

With nearly 25,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1,809 deaths reported (as at 16 March), Italy is by far the hardest hit country in Europe and was the first (After China) to institute a nationwide quarantine. That came on 9 March, a lockdown that has dramatically restricted movement and further turned normal life on its head.

That’s the context now in which athletes are looking towards the Olympic Games. Conjecture about the future of those Games, scheduled to get underway on 24 July, is feeding the uncertainty, but for now that goal remains as the key driving force for Italian athletes who are trying to keep upbeat even as some scramble to find places to train.

“I’m worried about the national emergency and the lack of races but my mood remains good,” said Davide Re, the national 400m record holder, who, instead of attending an overseas training camp, is currently in Rieti where he is today celebrating his 27th birthday. Restrictions have closed indoor training facilities, but as a national level athlete, he has been given permission to train on an outdoor track.

“I’m sorry to celebrate my birthday in quarantine, without the classic pastarelle at the camp,” he said. “But training is good. Luckily, being a national athlete I have the opportunity to go to the field so my routine hasn’t changed too much. We can't use the gym, of course, but we can use the weights on the track outside.”

For Vallortigara, a time for focus, and reflection

From Siena, high jumper Elena Vallortigara reports that for her, not too much has changed.

“Last week I managed to train every day on my track except Tuesday, but I made up for that on a football pitch. If the facility remains open, it changes little, because I can jump and train on the track.

Not knowing when the season will resume, Vallortigara said, is the more difficult uncertainty to manage.

Since the date of her next competition is up in the air, Vallortigara said, “the best thing is to continue my general conditioning work that I would have done in this period anyway, and then finalise my plans when there will be more specific news - even on the Olympic Games. Making many plans on what may or may not be is really a waste of energy right now.”

Re concurred. “I hope we’ll know something soon about the season to figure out how to regulate our training.”

An even greater difficulty, Vallortigara said, “is to maintain a positive, and even a little detached attitude. I feel that this feeling of general panic and insecurity has an impact on me, as on everyone. I’m fortunate to be able to go to the field and maintain at least some normalcy in my days.

“But the most important problem is people’s health: from my side, I try to remain focused on the target, because I think this can help me, hoping normality may come back soon. I also hope everyone can come back to their usual lives as soon as possible, but in the meantime, with increased awareness. This period should also be one for everybody to reflect.”

Crippa assists national campaign

Meanwhile, national 10,000m record holder Yeman Crippa continues his drive towards Tokyo from his home base in Trento.

“The situation is more difficult and I have to be much more careful, and always have my self-declaration with me,” he said, referring to a state-mandated document which allows him to leave his home.

“For a while I won’t be on the track and in the gym, but for bicycle and road training there isn’t a problem. But it’s not a good situation because races and training camps have been cancelled. Tomorrow I was supposed to go to the United States.

“It’s getting hard but I won’t give up. I know it will work out so my preparation for Tokyo continues, albeit with some more obstacles. It would have been worse if we hadn't been able to train at all.”

Like the others, he’s taking the current health risks and national decrees very seriously. Crippa was among the leading figures involved in the #DistantiMaUniti campaign set up by the Italian Ministry for Sport and Youth Policies whose aim was to convince young people to stay at home during this critical period.

Bringing their work home

Plenty of athletes are bringing their work home as best as they can. Like this unidentified high jumper in Milan.

So too are shot putter Leonardo Fabbri and hurdler Luminosa Bogliolo.

After a strong indoor campaign capped by a 21.59m national indoor record, Fabbri is back at work at his home in Florence.

“We decided to disconnect for a few days after the commitments of the indoor season, where I competed a lot. But now my training continues at home.” He’s hoping to return to his regular training base in Bologna two weeks from now.

Bogliolo, last year’s World University Games 100m hurdles champion, brought her work into her living room in the northwestern town of Alassio, located midway between Genoa and San Remo.

“Yes, I have all the tools in my living room, so when I'm not on the field I can train on treadmills, stationary bikes and resistance bands,” she said. But she too is finding the uncertainty of competitions the most difficult aspect to adjust to.

“The situation continues to change. Mentally I want to believe that we will compete again, but you cannot know. My coaches are changing the schedules a bit, but we’re working as if we’ll have a regular outdoor season.

“I’m trying not to give up and stay focused even if what is happening in Italy and around the world is truly an incredible situation."

(03/22/2020) ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Irish marathon runner Kevin Seaward believes Olympics probably won't happen

Irish marathon runner Kevin Seaward feels there is "every likelihood" this year's Olympics will not take place because of the coronavirus crisis.

Seaward ran the distance for Ireland at the Rio Games and set a new Northern Ireland marathon record of 2:10.09 last month to seemingly book his Tokyo spot.

"The Olympics symbolize something more than a Games at the moment," he said.

"It would be a beacon of hope for people. But I honestly don't think they are going to happen."

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is continuing to insist the Games could still begin on 24 July despite the pandemic but several high profile athletes including British heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson have criticized this stance.

World champion Johnson-Thompson says training has become "impossible" because of the restrictions around coronavirus and has had to move back home from her normal base in France after the country was put on lockdown.

As a distance runner who does most of his workouts alone and rarely uses a track, Seaward says his training is not being hindered to the same extent as the Englishwoman, but nevertheless feels the IOC will have to at least move the Games to a later date if not cancel altogether.

Seaward, 36, is an assistant head teacher at a Leicestershire secondary school and has been working flat out with his colleagues to make arrangements for the children of key workers who will remain in school in the coming weeks after the British Government's school closures announcement on Wednesday.

"It's challenging times. School has been pretty crazy the last three or four days but we've got a little bit of clarity now," the Northern Irishman told BBC Sport Northern Ireland.

"You don't know that the Olympics are going to happen. I've come to the conclusion that there's every likelihood of them not happening. We've certainly got bigger things to worry about globally at the minute."

Seaward believes the postponement and cancellation of numerous Olympic qualifiers and other events which would have offered the opportunity to book Tokyo berths is another reason why the Games are unlikely to happen - certainly in the summer.

"I read an article today where Seb Coe said it was too early to make a decision (on the Games) and I kind of agree it's too early to definitively say yes or no.

"Aside from the fact that what we're experiencing now may not have cleared by then, people still have to qualify. There's a lot of thought that would have to go into making the process fair for everyone.

"From a marathoner's perspective, we have three Irish qualifiers (Seaward, Paul Pollock and Stephen Scullion) but we also know there are multiple other guys (Sean Tobin, Hugh Armstrong and Mick Clohisey) who were training hard and who were determined to give it a go to qualify but their marathons were cancelled."

(03/20/2020) ⚡AMP
by John Haughey
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Somali-Belgian athlete Bashir Abdi sets sights on European record after sub-2:05 clocking in Tokyo

Bashir Abdi became only the second European athlete in history to break the 2:05-barrier for the marathon in the Tokyo Marathon on 1 March and he harbours aspirations of becoming the fastest.

The 31-year-old shattered his own national record with 2:04:49 to take the runner-up spot in the Japanese capital ahead of a prospective second successive Olympic appearance. And what is most remarkable about his ascent is he former amateur football player only started running at the age of 18.  

Abdi was born in the Somalian capital of Mogadishu and arrived in Belgium in 2002 at the age of 13. Back then running made no sense as he was a football addict. “As a kid I could not even understand why people would run in circles. Chasing a football made sense but skinny people running in circles did not at all. That was until I started running at the age of 18 and I have never regretted that decision”. 

Now Abdi is second on the European all-time marathon list with  2:04:49, his third consecutive Belgian record in only his fourth marathon after previous record runs in London (2:07:03) and Chicago (2:06:14) last year. Abdi came second in Tokyo, only 34 seconds behind Ethiopia’s Birhanu Legese, in a race which was devoid of the mass participation element due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

“I expected a finishing time around 2:05, because I have had the best preparation ever towards a marathon. My trainer Gary [Lough] made that very clear during the last weeks of altitude training in Sululta, Ethiopia. I was however surprised by the fact that I finished in second place in a World Marathon Major. To start with about 200 athletes in what normally is a race with 38,000 runners was a rather odd experience. It felt as if I was running a tiny street race in my hometown Ghent.” 

Abdi made his marathon debut back in April 2018 in Rotterdam with a solid 2:10:46 clocking despite bloodying his knees in a collision at the start. Now he is a sub-2:05 marathoner who is considered to be one of the outsiders to win a medal at the Olympic marathon in Sapporo.  

Abdi closed exceptionally quickly in the Chicago Marathon last October and he also ran faster than any other athlete in the Tokyo Marathon between the 35 kilometre checkpoint and the finish. His finish speed could be a great weapon at the Olympics.  

“I received wonderful reactions on my Tokyo performance, but for me finishing in the top eight would be great already. To my account there are six or seven runners that top the bill such as Eliud Kipchoge, Kenenisa Bekele and Birhanu Legese. I also doubt that I will be able to use the same tactics towards Sapporo, as I am not as experienced in the marathon, because I have had the benefit of pacers in my past four races. 

“The conditions will also be fairly different. Both Chicago and Tokyo were somehow similar to what I am used to in Belgium. Together with the Belgian Olympic Team we will prepare towards Sapporo as much as possible. Workouts in a heat chamber will be part of that preparation, combined with the usual altitude camp in Sululta” 

Abdi also has something else to look forward to during his build-up to the Olympics. In June he will become a father for the second time. His daughter Kadra celebrated her first birthday back in October. There is only one race on his schedule before Sapporo so far.   

“Becoming a father for the second time is something I am looking really forward to. I have a great wife who understands that sacrifices have to be made to perform at this level, especially in a year like this. Thanks to apps like Facetime and social media I am able to stay in touch with my family when I am on training camps. My baby daughter even recognises me thanks to social media, so it is somehow a blessing.  

2020 is all about the Olympics for Abdi but he is already thinking about the 2021 season - namely the Belgian half marathon record of 60:18 and more importantly the European marathon record of Kaan Kigen Ozbilen which stands at 2:04:16.   

(03/19/2020) ⚡AMP
by Quinten Lafort
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Lead Australian athletics coach Nic Bideau, thinks Olympics will be postponed

A senior Australian athletics coach believes the Olympics will be postponed because thousands of top athletes have been unable to properly prepare for the Games, as the coronavirus pandemic causes lockdowns around the world.

Thousands of the best athletes around the world will be unable to compete to qualify for Olympic teams, with athletics Diamond League meets poised to be cancelled due to restrictions on mass gatherings. European and American national titles are also in doubt due to the same crowd restrictions put in place during the coronavirus pandemic.

Lead Australian athletics coach Nic Bideau, who trains some of Australia's best middle distance runners, said many of the big countries in athletics were doubtful of being able to select teams under the normal qualifying system.

Bideau said that regardless of whether Japan recovered enough to host the Games, whether countries would have teams to send should be a compelling consideration for organizers.

"At the moment the situation is getting worse, not better [in the US and many countries in Europe] so those events will be unlikely to go ahead," he said.

"The big countries won't have teams to send. I think they will end up having the Games pushed back 12 months rather than cancelled. The small sports need the Olympics for profile and money coming in, they can't survive without the Olympics, so I think they will push it back 12 months."

There has been discussion in world athletics of abandoning the regular qualification process and just issuing quotas to countries to nominate a number of athletes.

But while nations in the southern hemisphere, such as Australia and South Africa, might be able to nominate teams because they have just completed domestic summer seasons, most European countries and Canada and the US have not. The latter group has also not had athletes hit qualifying standards.

"We could pick our team from qualified athletes and world rankings and so could South Africa but at the moment people are not thinking about that [qualifying for Olympics], they are thinking what will happen with the world? Is it worth thinking about playing sport and running competitions when this is happening?

"Everyone is marking time for a month, training a bit, and hoping that events can be held in June in Europe and the US, but it unlikely those events can be held."

The US Olympic track and field team is picked only from athletes who finish first, second or third at the US Olympic trials. To be on the team you must compete at the trials, but if the trials are not held then as it stands now, it would be impossible to pick a team.

(03/18/2020) ⚡AMP
by Michael Gleeson
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Double Olympic and three-time world 800m champion Caster Semenya is currently unable to contest her favored event unless she takes medication

Caster Semenya has announced she will compete over 200 meters this year in a bid to make the Tokyo Olympics.

Semenya, 29, is currently unable to compete internationally at distances from 400m to the mile under World Athletics regulations requiring women in those events who have naturally occurring high levels of testosterone – termed athletes of different sexual development [DSD] – to take medication.

The South African double Olympic and triple world 800m champion has repeatedly refused to take the required medication and did not defend her world title in Doha last year. Instead, she has now decided to turn her attention to a distance that does not fall under the regulations.

"As you are all aware, I am unable to compete in the 800m and defend my title at the Tokyo Olympic Games later this year," said Semenya on Friday.

"My dream has always been, and will continue to be, to compete at the highest level of sport, and so in order to pursue my goals and dreams, I have decided to change events, and compete in the 200m.

"This decision has not been an easy one, but as always, I look forward to the challenge, and will work hard, doing all I can to qualify for Tokyo and compete to the best of my ability for South Africa."

Having operated predominantly in middle-distance events during her career, Semenya has few 200m races under her belt prior to this year. Her official personal best of 24.26sec was set last month, although she clocked an unratified 23.49sec at a low-key South African event on Friday.

She would still need to improve significantly on that to secure her place in Tokyo by meeting the Olympic qualifying standard of 22.80sec.

By way of reference, even the 23.49sec she recorded on Friday would have placed her just 18th in the British rankings last year. Dina Asher-Smith's winning time in claiming world gold was 21.88sec.

Semenya's legal challenge against World Athletics' testosterone regulations remains ongoing as she challenges a ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport which found in favor of the governing body.

(03/17/2020) ⚡AMP
by Ben Bloom
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Tokyo Governor says Olympic Torch Relay to continue with "thorough infection measures"

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has once again insisted that the Olympic Torch Relay in Japan will go ahead, despite the Greek leg being cancelled yesterday.

As the coronavirus pandemic grinds much of the world's sporting calendar to a halt, Tokyo 2020 organisers and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have insisted they are still planning for the Games and Relay to go ahead.

"We're taking thorough infection measures with regards to the Olympic Torch Relay domestically", Koike is quoted as saying by Japan Today.

She added that arrangements for a "safe and secure" Games were continuing in the capital.

Koike's comments echo those made by Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga yesterday.

Suga claimed the Japanese Government's stance "has not changed" and that "we will coordinate closely with the IOC, organisers and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to steadily proceed with preparations".

Starting in Fukushima Prefecture, the Relay proper is due to begin on March 26 and is expected to last 121 days.

Adjustments including taking the temperature of Torchbearers and Relay staff members were previously announced in light of the coronavirus outbreak in Japan.

There have been at least 1,436 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country, with 28 people dying.

In Greece, large crowds showed up yesterday to watch Gerard Butler carry the Flame, prompting organisers to cancel the remaining Relay in the country.

However, a handover ceremony is still planned to go ahead - albeit behind closed doors, like the lighting ceremony - and the Olympic Torch scheduled to land in Japan on March 20.

(03/16/2020) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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I badly need an Olympic marathon gold medal says Cheruiyot

Heading into these two major races, I will be running as a typical Vivian and I have hope, determination and the zeal to do well — Cheruiyot.

• Arguably the most decorated Kenyan runner, Cheruiyot began her international career in 1999, when she won a silver medal in the junior race at the World Cross Country Championships in Belfast and a 3000m bronze medal at the World Youth Championships in Bydgoszcz.

Olympic 5,000m champion Vivian Cheruiyot has revealed that winning the marathon title at this year's Olympic Games in Tokyo will be the icing on the cake in an illustrious career spanning over two decades.

Cheruiyot, nicknamed ‘Pocket Rocket’ is also a multiple-time world champion on track and cross country but insists she has her work cut out in her chase for what she describes as her all-time career goal.

But before Tokyo, Cheruiyot is keen on defending her title at the Lisbon Half (March 21) and reclaiming her London Marathon title on April 26.

This, she says, will boost her confidence heading to Tokyo.

Speaking in Elgeyo Marakwet County during the Maria Soti Cross Country Championships 10 days ago, the two-time 5,000m and 10,000m world champion said she has been preparing well for the Games.

“Heading into these two major races, I will be running as a typical Vivian and I have hope, determination and the zeal to do well,” said Cheruiyot.

“I will be defending my Lisbon title as a precursor for the London Marathon. I also have a big task ahead of me, that of representing my country Tokyo, where I also hope to win my second Olympic title.”

Arguably the most decorated Kenyan runner, Cheruiyot began her international career in 1999, when she won a silver medal in the junior race at the World Cross Country Championships in Belfast and a 3000m bronze medal at the World Youth Championships in Bydgoszcz.

Since then she has won numerous accolades at the African Championships, Commonwealth Games, World Championships, Olympic Games and World Marathon Majors.

“The journey has been good and I want to do better than I have ever done. I want to promise Kenyans a good fight in Tokyo,” added Cheruiyot.

Following her dominance on the track, she announced in 2016 that she had quit track to concentrate in marathon and road races, which it has been successful.

After graduating to the marathon, Cheruiyot won London Marathon in 2018 before finishing second behind Mary Keitany in 2019. She also grabbed a second-place finish at the 2018 New York Marathon.

(03/16/2020) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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One day after flame was lit, Greece suspends Olympic torch relay because of coronavirus

The Greek Olympic Committee suspended the remainder of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics torch relay through the country on Friday due to concerns about the coronavirus outbreak. The decision came one day after the flame was lit before an unusually small crowd of accredited guests in Ancient Olympia, where the Games originated.

Amid growing fears about the coronavirus, the torch-lighting ceremony, which dates from 1936 and normally draws thousands to the Temple of Hera, was held without spectators lining the slopes of the tiny town for the first time since the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Greece reported its first fatality as a result of the coronavirus Thursday.

The Greek Olympic Committee said that Friday’s leg of the relay, which featured actor Gerard Butler carrying the torch through the town of Sparta, attracted unexpectedly large crowds. The handover of the flame to the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee in Athens on March 19 is still scheduled to take place, without spectators.

Japan’s leg of the relay is scheduled to begin March 26 in Fukushima Prefecture, which was ravaged by an earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident in 2011. After traveling through all 47 of Japan’s prefectures, the flame is due to arrive in Tokyo 121 days later for the Opening Ceremonies on July 24.

Greek actress Xanthi Georgiou used a parabolic mirror to ignite the torch on Thursday before handing it to Greek Olympic shooting champion Anna Korakaki, who became the first woman to be the first torchbearer of the torch relay. The gold medalist at the 2016 Rio Games then passed the flame to Japan’s Mizuki Noguchi, who won the gold medal in the marathon at the 2004 Athens Games.

Even as the spread of the coronavirus has led to the cancellation and postponement of sporting events across the globe, International Olympic Committee officials have been adamant that the Tokyo Games will take place as scheduled. The IOC said it intends to follow advice from the World Health Organization.

In a speech at Thursday’s ceremony, IOC President Thomas Bach thanked organizers, including the Greek Olympic Committee, for making the event possible “under difficult circumstances.”

“This demonstrates once more our commitment to the success of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020,” Bach said. “Nineteen weeks before the Opening Ceremony, we are strengthened in this commitment by the many authorities and sports organizations around the world who are taking so many significant measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus."

(03/13/2020) ⚡AMP
by Scott Allen
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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