Team GB respond to 2020 Tokyo Olympics postponement amid coronavirus crisis

The British Olympic Association (BOA) and UK Sport have backed the decision to postpone the Games due to the coronavirus crisis.

The event in Tokyo, Japan, was due to begin on July 24 but will now take place 'no later than summer 2021' according to the International Olympic Committee. The Tokyo Paralympic Games will also be postponed until 2021.

BOA chief executive Andy Anson said: "It is with profound sadness that we accept the postponement, but in all consciousness it is the only decision we can support, in light of the devastating impact COVID-19 is having on our nation, our communities and our families.

"Alongside UK Sport and the BPA (British Paralympic Association), we have consulted with the National Governing Bodies of summer Olympic and Paralympic sports and with athlete representative groups, including our Athletes' Commissions and the British Athletes' Commission.

"It is with their input and support that we have a unanimous view that the impact of COVID-19 on athletes' training and preparation means their regimes are now compromised irreparably.

"It is time for them to stop thinking about Tokyo 2020 for now and be home and safe with their families.

"It would have been unthinkable for us to continue to prepare for an Olympic Games at a time the nation and the world, no less, is enduring great hardship. A postponement is the right decision.

"We have incredible sympathy for the Tokyo 2020 organising committee and indeed our colleagues at the IOC, who are working tirelessly to seek a positive outcome to this difficult scenario.

"The Olympic Games is a symbol of hope for us all and we are sure that we will be in Tokyo at the right and appropriate time as the world re-emerges from this dark period."

UK Sport CEO Sally Munday said: "We welcome today's decision from the IOC, IPC and Japan that the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be postponed.

"Given the unprecedented global challenge we face, today's news means that athletes, their coaches and support staff can now fully focus on what really matters at this terribly difficult time, keeping themselves and their families safe.

"We are working closely with government to ensure we can effectively support sports and their athletes through this distressing period.

"I'd like to take the opportunity to reassure sports that our guidance from last week remains in place that we will not seek to recover any financial performance investment or Athlete Performance Awards due to disruption caused by COVID-19.

"We also realise that today's decision has significant financial implications for our high performance system and we are working hard to identify the wide ranging impacts and scenarios and are in close contact with government to establish how best to support our summer Olympic and Paralympic sports and athletes to be ready for the Games when they do take place.

"I'd like to thank all our athletes who are playing a role in so many different ways in these challenging times, from supporting their local communities to inspiring us to stay active in our own homes.

"I'd also like to reassure the public that whilst the games are postponed, we strongly believe the power of sport will inspire the nation again."

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