Amid the rising coronavirus cases across the globe, International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach on Sunday (March 22) announced that there is no plan to cancel 2020 Tokyo Olympics but it is likely that the marquee event would be postponed due to the outbreak of the deadly virus.
"The IOC executive board emphasised that a cancellation of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 would not solve any of the problems or help anybody. Therefore, cancellation is not on the agenda," said Bach.
Bach added that a final call on Tokyo Games, including the scenario of postponement, would be made inside four weeks.
“Human lives take precedence over everything, including the staging of the Games. The IOC wants to be part of the solution. Therefore we have made it our leading principle to safeguard the health of everyone involved, and to contribute to containing the virus. I wish, and we all are working for this, that the hope so many athletes, NOCs and IFs from all five continents have expressed will be fulfilled: that at the end of this dark tunnel we are all going through together, not knowing how long it is, the Olympic flame will be a light at the end of this tunnel,” noted the IOC chief.
Notably, 2020 Tokyo Olympics is scheduled to start on July 24 in Japanese capital.
"The IOC will, in full coordination and partnership with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Japanese authorities and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, start detailed discussions to complete its assessment of the rapid development of the worldwide health situation and its impact on the Olympic Games, including the scenario of postponement," said Bach.
"The IOC is confident that it will have finalised these discussions within the next four weeks," he added.
It is to be noted that the IOC has been facing intense pressure from several quarters to postpone the Olympics with several athletes and sporting federations expressing concerns over the global scenario in the wake of coronavirus outbreak.
On Sunday, legandary athlete Carl Lewis demanded that the IOC should postpone the 2020 Olympics by at least 2 years. Lewis, 58, told Houston television station KRIV that IOC should postpone the 2020 Tokyo Olympics due to the mayhem unleashed by coronavirus across the globe.
Lewis made the statements hours after French Athletics Federation (FFA) demanded that the IOC should come up with new dates for the Olympics as many countries would not send athletes to Japan to participate in Olympics due to coronavirus pandemic.
"In this unprecedented crisis we are all united. Like you, we are very much concerned about what the COVID-19 pandemic is doing to people’s lives. Human lives take precedence over everything, including the staging of the Games. The IOC wants to be part of the solution. Therefore we have made it our leading principle to safeguard the health of everyone involved, and to contribute to containing the virus. I would like to assure you that we will adhere to this in all our decisions concerning the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020," Bach said in a letter to athletes.