MP backs the call to postpone Games - The Evesham Observer

MP backs the call to postpone Games

Rob George 28th Mar, 2020   0

EVESHAM’S MP has welcomed the decision to postpone this year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo and said British athletes’ ‘time would come’ at next year’s event.

Nigel Huddleston, who serves as sports minister in the Government, spoke after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirmed the worldwide sporting spectacular would not take place this summer because of the Coronavirus outbreak.

The event, which had been scheduled to start on July 24, has been put back 12 months.

It is thought the event will still be known as Tokyo 2020 despite being held at a time to be confirmed in 2021.

Athletes across the world had savaged the IOC’s initial policy to keep the games on track for this summer while restrictions were placed on travel around the world before a number of countries instructed their citizens to say home in a bit to combat the COVID-19 virus.

Former British Olympic champion cyclist Callum Skinner accused the IOC of ‘arrogance and stubbornness’ in their initial stance on this summer’s Games.

Mr Huddleston, who is overseeing Birmingham’s plans for the Commonwealth Games in 2022, said: “I welcome the much-needed clarity given by the IOC. The health and safety of all involved in the Olympic and Paralympic Games must come first – whether that be athletes, sports fans or officials.

“I know our athletes have worked so hard in preparation but their time will come in the future, as it will for Tokyo which deserves to host a brilliant, memorable Games.”

The IOC’s decision to postpone the games comes after almost all sport was suspended in the wake of the outbreak, with football’s European Championships also moving from this summer to 2021.

In a joint statement, the organisers of Tokyo 2020 and the IOC said: “The unprecedented and unpredictable spread of the outbreak has seen the situation in the rest of the world deteriorating.

“There are more than 375,000 cases now recorded worldwide and in nearly every country and their number is growing by the hour.

“In the present circumstances the IOC president and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.”


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