Following consultations with International Olympic Summer Sports Federations on Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has asked athletes and other stakeholders to continue with their preparations towards the Games slated for the summer of 2020.

In a communique released after the meeting, the IOC said it will continue to monitor the situation around the COVID-19 virus and has confidence that the many measures being taken by many authorities around the world will help contain the situation of the COVID-19 virus.

Part of the communique goes thus: “This is an unprecedented situation for the whole world, and our thoughts are with all those affected by this crisis. We are in solidarity with the whole of society to do everything to contain the virus. The situation around the COVID-19 virus is also impacting the preparations for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and is changing day by day.

“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; and 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. We will keep supporting the athletes by consulting with them and their respective NOCs, and by providing them with the latest information and developments, which are accessible for athletes worldwide on the Athlete365 website and via their respective NOCs and IFs.

“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. In this context, the IOC welcomes the support of the G7 leaders as expressed by Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo, who said: “I want to hold the Olympics and Paralympics perfectly, as proof that the human race will conquer the new coronavirus, and I gained support for that from the G-7 leaders.”

“We will continue to act in a responsible way and have agreed the following overriding principles about the staging of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020:

  1. To protect the health of everyone involved and to support the containment of the virus.
  2. To safeguard the interests of the athletes and of Olympic sport.

“The IOC will continue to monitor the situation 24/7. Already in mid-February, a task force was set up consisting of the IOC, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Japanese authorities and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

“The purpose of the task force is to ensure coordinated actions by all stakeholders. It has the mission to keep a constant appraisal of the situation to form the basis for the ongoing operational planning and necessary adaptations. The task force also monitors the implementation of the various actions decided.

“The IOC will continue to follow the guidance of this task force. The IOC’s decision will not be determined by financial interests, because thanks to its risk management policies and insurance it will in any case be able to continue its operations and accomplish its mission to organise the Olympic Games.”

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Yemi Olus is a Senior Sports Writer and Editor at Making of Champions. She has a bias for Athletics and was previously a Sports Reporter at the National Mirror, where she hosted a weekly column ‘On the Track with Yemi Olus’ for over two years. A self-acclaimed ‘athletics junkie’, she has covered national and international events live, such as the African Athletics Championships, African Games and IAAF World Championships. She has also freelanced for the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) and currently hosts a weekly Track and Field column in the Vanguard Newspaper.

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