LONDON, March 24 (Reuters) - Athletes, national associations and sporting federation from around the world reacted to the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on Tuesday because of the coronavirus pandemic.
After several weeks of intense speculation and criticism at the delay in announcing a delay, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and IOC president Thomas Bach agreed the event would be rescheduled for the summer of 2021 at the latest.
The postponement marks the first break in the four-year cycle for the summer Olympics since the 1940 and 1944 Games were cancelled because of World War Two.
Here are some reactions to the momentous decision:
Andy Andson chief executive of the British Olympic Association (BOA):
“It is with profound sadness that we accept the postponement, but in all consciousness it is the only decision we can support, in light of the devastating impact COVID-19 is having on our nation, our communities and our families.
“It is time for them to stop thinking about Tokyo 2020 for now and be home and safe with their families.”
Alejandro Blanco, president of the Spanish Olympic Committee:
“The IOC has given us some good news by announcing that the Olympic Games will be postponed. It will allow all athletes to be able to compete in equal conditions and will safeguard their health, just as we have been demanding since this crisis began.”
Alfons Hormann, President of the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB):
“The now quick and clear decision to postpone the Olympic and Paralympic Games is a correct and enormously important step for international sport and the entire world community.
“It confirms to the world population that everything in sports is also being done to bring the global pandemic under control as best as possible and as soon as possible.”
Indian Olympic Association secretary general Rajeev Mehta:
“This decision today, relieves our athletes of worries of having to train now during an epidemic and perform their best in four months from now.”
“The health and safety of the athletes, fans, and everyone involved is our shared priority and responsibility and we believe the right decision has been taken in these very difficult and unprecedented circumstances.
“We look forward to working closely together in a spirit of partnership with the IOC, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and all other stakeholders towards the rescheduling of the Games and our belief from the outstanding Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan, is that the hosts will come out of this adversity stronger and more committed than ever before to deliver an exceptional Games.” (Reporting by Martyn Herman Editing by Christian Radnedge)