The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games have been postponed until next year because of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.
The event, due to begin on 24 July, will now take place “no later than summer 2021”.
“I proposed to postpone for a year and [IOC] president Thomas Bach responded with 100% agreement,” said Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe.
The event will still be called Tokyo 2020 despite taking place in 2021.
In a joint statement, the organisers of Tokyo 2020 and the IOC said: “The unprecedented and unpredictable spread of the outbreak has seen the situation in the rest of the world deteriorating.
“On Monday, the director general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that the Covid-19 pandemic is ‘accelerating’.
“There are more than 375,000 cases now recorded worldwide and in nearly every country, and their number is growing by the hour.
“In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today [Tuesday], the IOC president and the prime minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.”
While the Games is the biggest sporting event to be affected by the pandemic, there has been a huge impact on a host of other major tournaments and sports:
The IOC had given itself a deadline of four weeks to consider delaying the Games but there had been mounting pressure from a host of Olympic committees and athletes demanding a quicker decision.
Canada became the first major country to withdraw from both events on Sunday, while USA Track and Field, athletics’ US governing body, had also called for a postponement.
International Paralympic Committee president Andrew Parson said the postponement was “the only logical option”.
He added: “The health and wellbeing of human life must always be our number-one priority and staging a sporting event of any kind during this pandemic is simply not possible.
“Sport is not the most important thing right now, preserving human life is. It is essential, therefore, that all steps are taken to try to limit the spread of this disease.
“By taking this decision now, everyone involved in the Paralympic movement, including all Para-athletes, can fully focus on their own health and wellbeing and staying safe during this unprecedented and difficult time.”
Afelokhai Downplays Pressure To Win Trophy
Newly signed Rivers United’s goalkeeper, Theophilus Afelokhai, has downplayed the huge expectation on the Port Harcourt-based side to win a title after going on a spending spree with a recruitment drive of some of the biggest legs in the Nigeria Professional Football League ahead of the next football league season.
Afelokhai speaking in a chat with Tidesports source said the players assembled are big players with huge ambitions and will notwithstanding any team targets want to achieve and win things for themselves and the club.
He stressed that there is no pressure to win a trophy at the club but certainly they want to all succeed.
“We have the good players here and the players are really ready to deliver, and having someone like me and others every player know what they want in life, we have a good plan for ourselves and the team and it’s to win something and that’s why we are here.
“We know what we want, every player knows what he wants. I don’t think we are under pressure to win something but the thing is that we want to win something. We are all here to achieve and we are going to achieve what we are here for.”
Wike Hailed Over Rivers Real Madrid Academy …Institution Set To Admit Students
The Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike has been described as a leader who truly understands the value of sports and goes ahead to institute facilities that would enhance such values and make them accessible to the people.
This was the position of the state Commissioner for Sports, Hon Boma Iyaye on Tuesday during a tour of the magnificent Rivers State Real Madrid Football Academy in Port Harcourt, with sports journalists.
Speaking after the tour conducted by the Special Assistant (SA) to Governor Wike on the Real Madrid Football Academy, Barr. Christopher Green, the Commissioner said that the governor has demonstrated his commitment to sports development and empowerment through numerous projects and programmes, especially the Real Madrid Football Academy.
According to Hon. Iyaye, the football academy is an iconic project and the edifice would go a long way to show that Governor Wike is indeed the Power of Sports in Africa, POS-Africa, a title that was awarded him in 2018.
The commissioner said that at conception, he did not think that the project would be as huge as it has turned out to be. “I am elated and short of words,” he said. “This is a project that after 20 or 30 years, anybody who is related to the project would shake his head and thank God that he was part of the team that was able to do this at our own time.
“Maybe, Rivers people would not immediately realise the legacy the governor is bequeathing, not only to the youths but anybody who is a Rivers indigene,” he said.
“We want to thank the governor for what he has done for Rivers people, we thank him for what he has bequeathed to our youths. “From the age of eight, nine, 10 and 11, we want to catch them young, probably, if some of us had had the opportunity of going through such a facility at a tender age, we would have been among the best footballers in the world,” he said.
Speaking earlier, the SA, Barrister Green described the academy as one of its kind in the world where youngsters would be weaned in the art of footballing and academics in a unique way.
“What we have here is a world class facility, comparable to any one that can be found in the world. “Our teachers are among the best you can get in this country and our methodology is quite different.
“We’re grateful to Governor Wike, the man whose dream and vision has made this possible. What he has bequeathed to the youths in Rivers State is something indescribable. “He has secured the future of our youths in the state and even beyond.”
Green said that the academy would be ready to admit students from next month and that the quota would be 70 per cent for Rivers people and 30 per cent from outside and other nationalities as directed by the governor.
By: Gabriel Nwanetanya
Administrative Structure In NPFL, Immature – Baraje
Veteran Nigeria Professional Football League Manager, Zachary Baraje, has described the administrative structure in Nigerian Professional Football League football as immature with the consistent annual mass drift of players and coaches among clubs in the different tiers of the league.
Baraje speaking in a chat with Tidesports source on the pervasive occurrence said the practice has put league football structure in Nigeria at the incubation stage and this has also encumbered what should have been sustainable growth of clubs in the different strata of league football in Nigeria.
“We’re still in a stage of incubation, maturity is really yet to get to us we are still not yet matured, by the time we are matured really that’s when things will take shape in our club sides. So our football will just remain in the doldrums like that, the movement of our coaches for one year contract if things are well done the contract supposed to be not less than two years and above in such a way that we will know how consistent your team has been.
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