Canada has develop into the first country to withdraw its team from the Tokyo Olympics, increasing strain on Japan’s Top Minister Shinzo Abe to delay an tournament he said for the first time on Monday can be postponed if it may now not be held in its “total construct” because of the coronavirus pandemic.
After an emergency meeting on Sunday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it was stepping up its “scenario planning” for the 2020 Games due to start on July 24, which would include a conceivable postponement.
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Abe said that whereas cancelling the Games was now not an option, a delay was now on the cards if that was the handiest way to maintain the tournament in its total construct.
“If that turns into demanding, we may have no option however to imagine postponing the Games,” he told parliament.
He said he had conveyed his views to Tokyo Games chief Yoshiro Mori on Sunday evening, who then talked about the situation with IOC President Thomas Bach.
The Olympic flame has already arrived in Japan [Kimimasa Mayama/EPA]
Opposition to holding the Games in July has risen sharply in contemporary days, with several important stakeholders such as the US Track and Field and UK Athletics, along with several national Olympic committees, calling for a delay because of the pandemic.
Late on Sunday, the Canadian Olympic Committee became the first country to withdraw from the Games, urging organisers to postpone the tournament for one year.
“While we recognise the inherent complexities around a postponement, nothing is more important than the health and safety of our athletes and the arena neighborhood,” it said late on Sunday.
The Olympics have by no means been postponed or cancelled during peacetime however the IOC’s resolution to even imagine postponement was met with reduction. The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) welcomed the IOC resolution on Monday and said athletes may unexcited now prepare for a Tokyo Olympic Games in the northern summer of 2021.
Preparing for postponement
In a statement, the AOC said its govt board “unanimously agreed that an Australian Team may now not be assembled in the changing circumstances at house and abroad” and that athletes now wished to prioritise their beget health and of those around them.
Ian Chesterman, Australian Team Chef de Mission for Tokyo said the postponement of the Games would allow competitors from around the arena to properly prepare with the hope the coronavirus disaster would be beneath maintain an eye on.
“Or now not it’s clear the Games can’t be held in July,” he said. “Our athletes have been magnificent in their definite attitude to training and preparing, however the stress and uncertainty has been extraordinarily challenging for them.”
Extra than 13,000 folks around the arena have died since the coronavirus outbreak began in China late last year, with the epicentre now in Europe.
As of Sunday morning, Japan had 37 deaths and 1,055 coronavirus cases, excluding those from a cruise ship that was quarantined near Tokyo last month and returnees on chartered flights from China, according to public broadcaster NHK.
The IOC said it will finalise discussions on postponing the Olympic Games within the following four weeks.