Kuwait City, March 25 (IANS) The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has welcomed the decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games until next year.
In a statement, OCA Director General Mr Husain Al-Musallam said: "The OCA appreciates that this must have been an extremely difficult decision to make, but the rapidly deteriorating situation around the world due to COVID-19 has made this postponement a necessity. The health and wellbeing of athletes and all Olympic stakeholders must be the top priority."
"The IOC, along with Japanese authorities, have tried to delay this decision as long as possible in the hope that the situation might improve in the coming weeks and months but, sadly, this has not been the case. Now is the time for the Olympic sports movement around the world to show unity and solidarity and to work as one team in preparing for a brighter future."
The OCA also extended sympathies to the Organising Committee of Tokyo 2020 for all the work, planning and preparation they have put in over a number of years - only for this completely unforeseen pandemic to intervene and change the course of Olympic history.
On Tuesday, the IOC and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee said in a joint statement that the committee's president Thomas Bach and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed that the Games have to be "rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021."
This thus makes it the first Olympics to be postponed with the Games being cancelled previously in 1916 due to the First World War and 1940 and 1944 due to the Second World War.
The joint statement said that the postponement comes in response to the coronavirus pandemic that has led to restrictions over people's movements in countries around the world.
"We know Japan will recover from this setback and put on an even greater show to mark the coming together of humanity after finally defeating this virus.