Canada Withdraws From Tokyo 2020 Games Amid Coronavirus Fears

Published March 23rd, 2020 - 08:39 GMT
The Tokyo 2020 logo is pictured next to a "do not enter" street sign in Tokyo on March 23, 2020. CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP
The Tokyo 2020 logo is pictured next to a "do not enter" street sign in Tokyo on March 23, 2020. CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP

Canada said Sunday it will not be sending athletes to participate in the Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer due to the coronavirus pandemic while Australia told its athletes to prepare for the event to be postponed.

The Canadian Olympic Committee and the Canadian Paralympic Committee said in a statement that their decision to not compete in the Summer Olympics scheduled for July 24 to Aug. 9 in Tokyo, Japan, is backed by the Canadian government.

Team Canada also called on the International Olympic Committee to postpone the games for one year, offering its help to "navigate all the complexities that rescheduling the Games will bring."

"While we recognize the inherent complexities around a postponement, nothing is more important than the health and safety of our athletes and the world community," the COC said in the statement.

The COC said its decision is not only to ensure the health of its athletes but to ensure the health of the public, stating having their athletes continue to train for the Games "runs counter to the public health advice, which we urge all Canadians to follow."

The announcement follows the IOC stating earlier Sunday that it is considering postponing the 2020 Summer Games and has established a timeline for when it will decide how the games will proceed.

Canada said it is thankful for the update, and applauded its decision to not cancel the Games.

Meanwhile, the Australian Olympic Committee informed its athletes on Monday to prepare to participate in the Summer Olympics in 2021.

"The AOC believes our athletes now need to prioritize their own health and of those around them," the organization said in a statement.

Ian Chesterman, Australian Team Chef de Mission for Tokyo, said "it's clear" the games can't be held in July and the stress of uncertainty has been "extremely challenging" for the athletes.

"We are aware that for many such a postponement will present a range of new issues," Chesterman said. "But when the world does come together at the Tokyo Olympic Games, they can be a true celebration of sport and humanity."

This article has been adapted from its original source.

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