Saturday September 18, 2021

POA hails IOC decision to postpone Tokyo Olympics

March 25, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) on Tuesday hailed the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decision to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Olympics for a year in wake of serious outbreak of COVID 19 that crippled all sports activities throughout the world.

Lt Gen (retd) Arif Hasan, president POA, while talking to The News following the decision taken during the IOC president Thomas Bach and Japan Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s conference call, said that athletes’ well-being and safety had always been of paramount interest.

“It is a welcoming news in wake what has been happening throughout the world. Athletes and all other participating officials health is of paramount importance for all of us. No one is certain as what would happen in a couple of month time. The decision taken in a telephonic conference call between IOC President and Japan PM is for the wellbeing of athletes and all other participating officials and is based on reality and facts. It is indeed is a welcoming decision.”

Though the postponement of the Games has yet to get IOC Board backing, it was taken in the best interest of all participating teams, spectators and for those having direct interest in successful hosting of the Games. “The Board meeting through conference call has also been convened to give the decision official status. I am also happy that the IOC president has consulted all the stakeholders before getting into the negotiation with Japan premier.”

Lt Gen (rtd) Arif Hasan said that the Asian countries had also been taken on board. “Like IOC, for POA athletes’ safety and wellbeing is of paramount interest. We would back all those decision taken in the best interest of the athletes and sports.”

President Bach and Prime Minister Abe expressed their shared concern about the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, and what it is doing to people’s lives and the significant impact it is having on global athletes’ preparations for the Games.

“In run up to the Olympics, athletes always go through preparation process to make sure that there performance gets to peak during the Games. But here hardly any athlete got the opportunity to compete against the best prior to the Olympics. The decision has been made in the best interest of athletes and considering the spirit of the Games,” POA president said. The IOC hand-out sent to the all national Olympic Committees says: “Since our last communication to you on Sunday 22 March 2020, the impacts of COVID-19 have continued to accelerate around the world, impacting an increasing number of countries and the preparation of athletes around the world.

This situation was discussed this afternoon between the IOC President and the Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo. Conclusion from the discussion is that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a later date beyond 2020 but not later than the summer of 2021. This conclusion was subsequently confirmed by the IOC Executive Board. We understand this decision provides some certainty in the current exceptional environment however also requires all of us to continue to work in solidarity to address the necessary points in regards to this postponement. This includes, among other areas, the timing of the postponed Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, necessary adaptations to the Games delivery plans and qualification systems. We will engage with all stakeholders as quickly as possible to ensure that we develop the necessary plans relating to this postponement.

We thank you again for your support and unity through this challenging period and look forward to moving ahead with the revised Games planning with you.”