IOC discussing postponement of 2020 Tokyo Olympics

By Satuk Bugra Kutlugun

ANKARA (AA) – The executive board of the International Olympics Committee (IOC) met on Sunday to discuss a possible delay of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics amid a spreading coronavirus pandemic.

The committee said in a statement that "the IOC is confident that it will have finalized these discussions within the next four weeks, and greatly appreciates the solidarity and partnership of the NOCs and IFs in supporting the athletes and adapting Games planning."

The IOC highlighted "significant improvements" in Japan strengthen the committee’s confidence, but it also pointed out the "dramatic increase" and new outbreaks of COVID-19 in different countries on different continents.

In a letter to Olympic athletes, the IOC President Thomas Bach said the cancellation of 2020 Olympics in not on the agenda.

"So, like you, we are in a dilemma: Cancellation of the Olympic Games would destroy the Olympic dream of 11,000 athletes from all 206 National Olympic Committees, from the IOC Refugee Olympic Team, most likely for the Paralympic athletes, and for all the people who are supporting you as coaches, doctors, officials, training partners, friends and family. Cancellation would not solve any problem and would help nobody. Therefore it is not on our agenda," Bach wrote.

The Tokyo 2020 Games have been under threat recently due to the growing coronavirus outbreaks across the world.

Out of more than 329,000 confirmed cases, the death toll now exceeds 14,300, while more than 95,000 have recovered, according to the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

Italy, China, Iran, and Spain continue to be the most affected countries.

The World Health Organization, which labeled the outbreak a pandemic, declared Europe the new epicenter of the virus.

Despite the rising number of cases, a vast majority of those infected with the virus suffer mild symptoms and recover.