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22 Mar, 2020 18:24

Olympic chiefs set 4-week deadline to decide on fate of coronavirus-threatened Tokyo 2020 Games

Olympic chiefs set 4-week deadline to decide on fate of coronavirus-threatened Tokyo 2020 Games

Tokyo 2020 organizers have set a four-week deadline in which to decide on a potential postponement of the Games, as the Covid-19 outbreak continues to threaten the event.

In a statement on Sunday, International Olympic Committee (IOC) officials said that key stakeholders, including in Japan, would take the next four weeks before making a definitive decison.

"The IOC will, in full coordination and partnership with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Japanese authorities and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, start detailed discussions to complete its assessment of the rapid development of the worldwide health situation and its impact on the Olympic Games, including the scenario of postponement," it read.  

"The IOC is confident that it will have finalised these discussions within the next four weeks, and greatly appreciates the solidarity and partnership of the NOCs [National Olympic Committees] and IFs [International Federations] in supporting the athletes and adapting Games planning."

The Tokyo Games are due to be held from July 24 to August 9, with the Paralympics following from August 25 to September 6.

However, organizers have come under increasing pressure to put the events back by a year amid the Covid-19 pandemic which has infected more than 330,000 people worldwide and claimed over 14,000 lives.

In recent days calls have intensified from athletes as well as national federations around the world for the Games to be delayed.

Over the weekend, US Track and Field joined the nation's swimming federation in calling for a postponement to the Games.  

Also on rt.com US Track & Field adds weight to calls for Tokyo Olympics postponement as delay seems increasingly inevitable

Despite major sports leagues around the world being suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak, as well as events such as UEFA Euro 2020 already being delayed, Olympic bosses have thus far resisted calls to make a firm decision on a postponement, claiming it is still too early.

Sunday's announcement may be seen by some as merely kicking the can further down the road, but at least sets a clear deadline for a ruling.