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Following a meeting of the IOC executive board today, the Tokyo Olympic Games will now start on 23 July, 2021 and will run to 8 August after it was postponed for a year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Paralympic Games will now take place from 24 August until 5 September, 2021. The IOC also decided that the Olympics will still be called Tokyo 2020 despite taking place in 2021.

IOC president Thomas Bach was quoted by the BBC: “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.

“Humankind currently finds itself in a dark tunnel. These Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 can be a light at the end of this tunnel.”

International Paralympic Committee president Andrew Parsons added: “When the Paralympic Games do take place in Tokyo next year, they will be an extra-special display of humanity uniting as one, a global celebration of human resilience and a sensational showcase of sport.

“With the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games 512 days away, the priority for all those involved in the Paralympic movement must be to focus on staying safe with their friends and family during this unprecedented and difficult time.”

The decision to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Olympics was taken to support the containment of the Covid-19 virus to protect the health of the athletes and everyone involved.

One of the reasons for the delay is to allow time to finish the qualification process when current restrictions will have been lifted. All athletes already qualified and quota places already assigned will remain unchanged.

Tokyo 2020 organising committee president Yoshiro Mori was quoted by the BBC:

“A certain amount of time is required for the selection and qualification of athletes and for their training and preparation, and the consensus was that staging the rescheduled Games during the summer vacation in Japan would be preferable,” Mori said.

“In terms of transport, arranging volunteers and the provision of tickets for those in Japan and overseas, as well as allowing for the Covid-19 situation, we think that it would be better to reschedule the Games to one year later than planned, in the summer of 2021.”