The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics will stick to its summer dates next year, ending speculation that it would be a spring window for the Games to accommodate other major events scheduled for the year.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Tokyo 2020 organising committee have decided the new dates for the Tokyo Olympics. The Games, which will still be named Tokyo 2020 despite taking place in 2021, will have a summer window similar to this year’s dates. The Tokyo Olympics will now start on July 23, 2021, and end on Sunday, August 8. The Paralympic Games, originally scheduled for August 25, 2020, will now take place from August 24 to September 5, 2021, ending speculations that it would be a spring Games next year.
Organizing committee President Yoshiro Mori has also suggested that no major changes will be witnessed when compared to 2020.
“The games are meant to be in summer, so we should be thinking of a time between June and September,” Japanese news agency Kyodo reported Mori as saying on Saturday. Earlier last week, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach had left open a possibility of spring dates for the Games.
That though will no longer be the case. “I am confident that, working together with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Japanese Government and all our stakeholders, we can master this unprecedented challenge,” Bach said.
Also Read | BCCI’s Covid-19 Plunge With PM CARES: Who does Indian Cricket Really Care For?
"Humankind currently finds itself in a dark tunnel. These Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 can be a light at the end of this tunnel."
The decision to postpone the Games was taken keeping in mind the health of the athletes and everyone involved, and to avoid the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The new dates have also been announced considering the rest of the global sports calendar after the men's football European Championship also saw a postponement of a year, and have been given the summer 2021 slot too.
With the announcement of the postponement, the Olympic committee hopes the qualification process will progress smoothly and will follow the same measures they had planned for 2020.
In India, the dates have been met with a measured response. Graham Reid, the head coach of the Men’s hockey team praised the scheduling and was glad it gave his team more time to adopt his methods. “It's great to get some clarity about the new starting date for the Tokyo Olympic Games. This allows us to begin the planning process to be ready for July next year,” he said.
Also Read | East Bengal’s Future Sense: Stick to the Club’s Legacy and Character, Clean the In-House Mess
It was also previously confirmed that athletes who had already qualified and were given quota places will not have to be a part of the qualification again.
Along with the other measures, Mori and organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto have also said that the added cost of rescheduling the whole event is going to be “enormous.”
A Japanese government audit has already revealed that they had already spent $12.6 billion on the scheduling of the Games for this year.
Read more sports stories from Newsclick