IOC President Thomas Bach
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says postponing the Tokyo Olympics over the novel coronavirus pandemic may become "inevitable."
The remarks were his first acknowledgment that the Summer Games may not open as scheduled and came after the International Olympic Committee said the competition could be delayed but not canceled.
Ron Chang reports.
IOC President Thomas Bach said on Sunday that a decision on when the Games take place would be made "within the next four weeks."
In response, Abe said a postponement would be unavoidable, noting "athletes' safety is paramount."
Tokyo organizers have been preparing to open the Games as scheduled despite strong pressure from sporting federations and athletes to push back the competition.
Canada has joined a number of countries, including Norway and Brazil, which have pressed the IOC on a possible postponement, saying it will not send athletes to the Tokyo Games unless they are postponed for a year.
Australian Olympic officials said "it was clear" the Tokyo Games could not go ahead as scheduled four months from now and told their athletes to instead prepare for the event in 2021.
The Korean Sport & Olympic Committee said it wasn't ready yet to join the countries and will instead wait until the IOC makes its final call.
But American Olympic expert Philip Hersh says postponing the Olympics could also be problematic.
[Clip: Hersh: 00:21]
"Postponing them creates a whole another series of problems. Given an international sports calendar, it is already very crowded. You would have to tell a couple of major international federations like swimming and athletics that they could not hold their world championships in 2021, when they normally would be scheduled next."
The pandemic has put Olympic training in limbo - athletes likely have their fingers crossed that a decision will be made by this time next month.
Ron Chang, eFM News.■
<Photo: Yonhap News>
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