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IOC chief Bach, Japan PM Abe look at Tokyo Olympics as 'beacon of hope' as games moved to 2021

Caloy Yulo will have to wait for another year before making his highly-anticipated Olympic debut. Jojo Lirio/Smile-8 (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--IOC president Thomas Bach and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe both see the Tokyo Olympics as a sign that the world will rise up from the growing novel coronavirus pandemic as they both agreed on Tuesday night that the games will be postponed to next year.

"The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present," the IOC and the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee said in a joint statement officially announcing the postponement of the games.

The agreement was a result of a conference call between Bach and Abe that took place hours after longtime IOC member Dick Pound bared that the said organization is indeed postponing the quadrennial meet.

[Related Story: Report: Tokyo Olympics postponed due to COVID-19 outbreak]

Also present in the said call were Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee president Mori Yoshiro, Japan's Olympic minister Hashimoto Seiko, Tokyo governor Koike Yuriko, IOC Coordination Commission chairman John Coates, IOC director general Christophe De Kepper, and IOC Olympic Games executive director Christophe Dubi.

"President Bach and Prime Minister Abe expressed their shared concern about the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, and what it is doing to people’s lives and the significant impact it is having on global athletes’ preparations for the games," the joint statement bared what went down in the said conference call, which was described as "very friendly and constructive."

The statement added that both Bach and Abe "praised the work of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and noted the great progress being made in Japan to fight against COVID-19."

According to the said statement, the postponement was made "to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community."

While the Summer Olympics and the ensuing Paralympics will now both be played in 2021, both the IOC and the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee "agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020."

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno_