Olympics: IOC committed to Tokyo 2020 Games, no need for 'drastic decisions'

A man walks in front of flags for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (REUTERS) - The International Olympic Committee does not plan any "drastic" decisions about the Tokyo 2020 Games, saying on Tuesday (March 17) it remains fully committed to the event being staged in four months time despite the global spread of the coronavirus.

The IOC said in a statement following discussions with international sports federations that changes would need to be made to the qualifiers due to the impact of the virus but it plans to go ahead with the July 24-Aug 9 Olympics.

"The IOC remains fully committed to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and with more than four months to go before the Games there is no need for any drastic decisions at this stage," it said in a statement.

"Any speculation at this moment would be counter-productive.

"The IOC encourages all athletes to continue to prepare for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 as best they can," it said, less than an hour after European soccer body Uefa postponed its 2020 European championship to 2021.

Speculation about whether the Olympics can be held has mounted by the day due to concerns about the virus, which has infected almost 190,000 people and killed over 7,500 worldwide, with the epicentre now being Europe.

Sports competitions have come to a halt in many parts of the world, wreaking havoc with Olympic qualifiers across 33 sports. The IOC on Monday scrapped any remaining boxing qualifiers due to the virus.

So far, 57 per cent of the 11,000 athletes have already secured their spot.

"For the remaining 43 per cent of places, the IOC will work with the international federations to make any necessary and practical adaptations to their respective qualification systems for Tokyo 2020," the Olympic body said.

It said qualification could also be based on ranking or historical results as well.

"The IOC has confidence that the many measures being taken by many authorities around the world will help contain the situation of the Covid-19 virus."

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