By Emre Asikci
ANKARA (AA) – The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) said Tuesday that it welcomed the decision to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“Continuing to pursue the dream of the Tokyo 2020 Games happening this year does not make sense; postponement is the only logical option," IPC chairman Andrew Parsons said on the committee’s website.
“When the Paralympic Games do happen in Tokyo next year, they will be a spectacular global celebration of humanity coming together again as one," he added.
The International Olympic Committee Athletes’ Commission also supported the decision.
"The IOC Athletes’ Commission welcomes and fully supports the IOC’s decision to postpone the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 until 2021 in order to protect the health of the athletes, as well as wider society," it said in a statement.
Several Olympic committees including the European Olympic Committees, Association of National Olympic Committees, Olympic Council of Asia and Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa also welcomed the decision in a joint statement on the official website of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
– Turkey voices support for decision
The Turkish Wrestling Federation said the uncertainty had affected Turkish athletes in a negative way and they felt relieved by the decision.
"All Olympians have been expecting this decision, and I approve the decision that was made," said Olympic gold medal winning wrestler Taha Akgul.
Turkey’s Cuban-born sprinter Yasmani Copello Escobar, a bronze medalist at the 2016 Olympics in track and field, said on Twitter: "Safety first. I will come back stronger. Stay tuned.”
The IOC and Japanese government said Tuesday in a joint statement that they have agreed to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympics for one year as the world grapples with the impact of the novel coronavirus.
Japan has 1,193 confirmed cases, with the death toll at 43, according to data compiled by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.
After emerging in Wuhan, China last December, the coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, has spread to at least 169 countries and regions. The World Health Organization has declared it a pandemic.
Out of more than 417,000 confirmed cases worldwide, the death toll now exceeds 18,600, while nearly 108,000 have recovered.