Coronavirus outbreak: Canada pulls out of Tokyo Olympics 2020
Canada has decided to not send its athletes to this year's Tokyo Olympics 2020 due to coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
Toronto: Canada has become the first country to pull out of the Tokyo Olympics 2020 due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It said on Monday (March 23) that it “had made the difficult decision” to not send Canadian teams to Tokyo.
“The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC), backed by their Athletes’ Commissions, National Sports Organisations and the Government of Canada, have made the difficult decision to not send Canadian teams to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in the summer of 2020,” COC said in a media release.
It added, “The COC and CPC urgently call on the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to postpone the Games for one year and we offer them our full support in helping 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.”
It further said that public health was important. “This is not solely about athlete health – it is about public health. With COVID-19 and the associated risks, it is not safe for our athletes, and the health and safety of their families and the broader Canadian community for athletes to continue training towards these Games. In fact, it runs counter to the public health advice which we urge all Canadians to follow.”
Flag bearer David Eng of Canada leads the team entering the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games at Maracana Stadium on September 7, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
COC said the International Olympic Committee had sent a letter stating that the Games won’t be cancelled. The Tokyo Olympics are to be held from July 24 to August 9.
“The COC and CPC reviewed the letter and news release sent Sunday by the IOC. We are thankful to the IOC for its assurance that it will not be cancelling the Tokyo 2020 Games and appreciative that it understands the importance of accelerating its decision-making regarding a possible postponement.
“We also applaud the IOC for acknowledging that safeguarding the health and wellness of nations and containing the virus must be our paramount concern. We are in the midst of a global health crisis that is far more significant than sport.
“The COC and CPC would like to thank our athletes, partners and the Canadian sport community for their patience and for lending us their voices during these unprecedented times. We remain hopeful that the IOC and IPC will agree with the decision to postpone the Games as a part of our collective responsibility to protect our communities and work to contain the spread of the virus,” COC said.