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April 4, 2020

IOC extends dates of Olympic qualifying rounds

Sports

April 4, 2020

ISLAMABAD: International Olympic Committee (IOC) has extended qualifying rounds dates till June 21, 2021 following rescheduling of Tokyo Olympics that will be held from July 23 to August 8, 2021.

In teleconference held late Thursday evening which was organised by the IOC with their top brass (which was also participated by The News) it was revealed that the new dates for completion of all qualifying rounds for Olympics will now be June 21, 2021. Majority of event qualifications have yet to get completed and these include Judo, karate, wrestling, Taekwondo, weightlifting, gymnastics and hosts of their sports. The teleconference was attended among others by James Macleod, NOC and Olympic Solidarity Director, Christopher Dubi, Olympic Games Executive Director and Kit McConnell Sports Director. It was revealed that all qualification rounds dates will be extended and communicated to the NOCs in due course.

“It is a very complex event to organise, and its postponement is a real challenge. It is like a huge jigsaw puzzle where every piece is important and must fit together. It is the responsibility of the Tokyo 2020 Coordination Commission to work with all the stakeholders involved, starting with the Organising Committee Tokyo 2020, the 33 International Federations, the 206 National Olympic Committees, athletes, sponsors and broadcasters to work on all the questions coming from the decision taken to postpone the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020,” Dubi said.

Comparisons are always dangerous as they can be interpreted in different ways. To a question on previous postponements of Olympics due to World War I and II. “To compare a postponement with a cancellation due to two World War would not be right, considering the losses and human suffering that a war brings with it. What we can say is that it is an unprecedented crisis for humankind, as we have never seen such a spread of a virus before, and an unprecedented challenge for the Olympic Games.”

“The IOC President addressed the athletes in several letters. There were also several calls between our Athletes’ Commission and many athlete representatives around the world, and a phone call with more than 200 athlete representatives and the IOC President. In this phone call, there was not a single voice asking for the cancellation of the Games. The questions revolved around the qualification system, the training conditions, mental health and other issues. We took all of this into consideration, plus the many voices of athletes that we heard from around the world who were not in this call. Some were critical, and others were very supportive. This is normal in this very difficult situation of uncertainty,” Dubi said on reasons that forced IOC to postpone the Games. The Sports Director confirmed that Olympic Torch Relay will stop for now. “But it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan. Humankind currently finds itself in a dark tunnel. These Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 can be a light at the end of this tunnel.”

On the possibilities of ultimate cancellation of the Games instead of postponement, he said Olympic Games would have destroyed the Olympic dream of 11,000 athletes from all 206 National Olympic Committees, from the IOC Refugee Olympic Team, and for all the people who are supporting the athletes, including coaches, doctors, officials, training partners, friends and family. “It would also have destroyed the work and the enthusiasm of our great Japanese hosts, with Tokyo being the best-prepared city for the Games ever.”