Tokyo Olympics confirm new dates for July 2021

The International Olympic Committee announced the new dates after a meeting of the Tokyo 2020 organising body

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The Tokyo Olympics have been given a new date for next summer, with a July 23-August 8 slot confirmed on Monday.

The International Olympic Committee announced the revised timetable following a meeting of the Tokyo 2020 organising body.

Last week, a decision was taken to postpone the Olympic and Paralympic Games because of the coronavirus pandemic, with the latter now confirmed to run from August 24-September 5, 2021.

A statement on Monday from the IOC read: “These new dates give the health authorities and all involved in the organisation of the Games the maximum time to deal with the constantly changing landscape and the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The new dates, exactly one year after those originally planned for 2020, also have the added benefit that any disruption that the postponement will cause to the international sports calendar can be kept to a minimum, in the interests of the athletes and the international federations.

“Additionally, they will provide sufficient time to finish the qualification process. The same heat mitigation measures as planned for 2020 will be implemented.”

The decision to postpone the Games for the first time in their 124-year modern history was widely applauded. It came after significant pressure was placed on the IOC by Canada and Australia, who announced they were withdrawing from this summer’s event, and World Athletics president Sebastian Coe, among others.

IOC President Thomas Bach earlier said the decision to delay the Games was about “protecting lives”. Tokyo has already spent $12 billion (Dh44bn) on the Olympics.

Speaking on Monday, Bach said: “I want to thank the international federations for their unanimous support and the Continental Associations of National Olympic Committees for the great partnership and their support in the consultation process over the last few days.

“I would also like to thank the IOC Athletes’ Commission, with whom we have been in constant contact.

“With this announcement, 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.”

Tokyo 2020 organising committee president Yoshiro Mori, who said he had proposed the new dates, added: “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.

"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."