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JOA President Samuda relieved at postponement of Tokyo Olympic Games

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

After weeks of indecision the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has finally taken a conclusive position on the staging of the Tokyo Olympic Games.

The IOC yesterday morning announced the postponement of the Games until the summer of 2021 due to the effects of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the World Health Organization (WHO), the IOC President Thomas Bach and the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021 to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games, and the international community.”

They also announced that the Games will remain in Tokyo, Japan, and still be referred to as the “2020 Games”.

“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.

“Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020,” the statement continued.

The president of the local body, the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), Christopher Samuda, believes medical evidence was what led to the protracted postponement announcement.

On Monday, the director general of WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating and this proved to be the trigger for postponement.

“The JOA from the very inception maintained that very careful consideration of the medical evidence and local conditions in Japan should be done to determine the way forward with the governing consideration being the health, safety, and well-being of our athletes, coaches, and officials.

“It is in this context that I must presume the IOC has now received compelling evidence which has caused it to review its position which I welcome and moreso as the decision has resulted from the consultation and consensus of stakeholders.”

In addition to being the president of the JOA, Samuda is also the president of the Jamaica Paralympic Association and was relieved to know that this ultimate decision has been taken.

“It is a relief for all. As we knew from the beginning, the Olympic and Paralympic Games will go on and now, hopefully, at an opportune time.”

He was also hopeful that athletes from all the sporting disciplines will be able to see the positive side of things and use the time to their advantage, to be even better prepared for 2021.

“Time will always be an advantage and a mother of opportunities and therefore I trust that all parties will use it wisely.”