Tokyo Olympics set for July-Aug in 2021

The postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics have been rescheduled for July 23-August 8, 2021, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Japanese organisers said on Monday.

The Games will be held exactly one year later than originally planned, July 24-August 9, 2020.

The Paralympics will start August 24 and run until September 5, also keeping the same slot.

The Games were postponed on March 24 because of the coronavirus outbreak, with IOC president Thomas Bach initially saying they could be held at any time next year until summer.

A statement on Monday said the quick decision was based on three considerations: protecting everyone’s health and supporting containment of Covid-19, safeguarding the interests of athletes and Olympic sport, and the global sports calendar.

“I am confident that, working together with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Japanese Government and all our stakeholders, we can master this unprecedented challenge,” IOC president Thomas Bach said.

“Humankind currently finds itself in a dark tunnel. These Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 can be a light at the end of this tunnel.”

Organising committee president Yoshiro Mori said: “Taking this decision promptly will help speed up future preparations … The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee will continue to work hard for the success of next year’s Games.”

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike told reporters: “We will once again start make preparations in order to hold a safe and secure Games for athletes and spectators.”

“But, at first, we have to defeat the novel coronavirus,” she added.

The announcement means that 2021 world championships in several sports, including the showcase Olympic sports of swimming and athletics, must find new dates.

World Athletics said it would push back their 2021 worlds, scheduled for August 6-15 in Eugene, Oregon, by one year.

“Everyone needs to be flexible and compromise and to that end we are now working with the organisers of the World Athletics Championships in Oregon on new dates in 2022 for our World Athletics Championships,” World Athletics said.

The aquatics worlds are scheduled for July 16-August 1 next year in Fukuoka, Japan, and the governing body FINA said it would consult with Fukuoka organisers, athletes, TV partners and other stakeholders “to determine the most appropriate solution.”

FINA has previously suggested it would look into a new 2021 date rather than moving back one year.

The one-year postponement also allows sports to complete qualifying events postponed over the past weeks owing to Covid-19. Athletes already qualified for the Games will meanwhile keep their spots and quota spots won’t change either.

Organisers have also already confirmed that ticket holders can either attend their rescheduled event or request a refund.

The swift decision on the new dates especially relieved local officials.

Sapporo city official Masayuki Nakata said he was glad to hear Olympic marathons and walking events will still take place in summer.

“A spring Olympics would have required totally different adjustments,” Nakata told Kyodo News.

The IOC moved the marathon and walking events to Sapporo, the capital of the northern island of Hokkaido due to Tokyo’s extreme heat in summer.

Bowing to mounting pressure from athletes and sports bodies amid the global coronavirus pandemic, Bach and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed last week on the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics to 2021.

Japan faces large extra costs through the postponement and hopes that the IOC will help cover them. Japan has said it has spent more than $US12 billion ($A19 billion) overall on the Olympics it was awarded in 2013.

© DPA 2020

State-wide Rugby League competitions cancelled due to coronavirus

The NRL, along with Queensland Rugby League and New South Wales Rugby League, has today announced the cancellation of a number of state-wide competitions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the league, the “uncertain and unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic made the scheduling of these fixtures untenable in 2020.”

Queensland Rugby League said the unprecedented decision to bring an immediate close to the competitions was made in the best interests of the health and safety of players and staff.

“We understand the outcome is a heartbreaking one for the rugby league community, but it’s a call that simply had to be made given the current circumstances,” QRL Managing Director Rob Moore said.

“Rugby league is part of the fabric of Queensland, and as such, we have key responsibilities to the wider community as well.”

In Queensland, the affected competitions include the Intrust Super Cup, BHP Premiership, Hastings Deering Colts and Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup.

“These four competitions require a significant level of travel and accommodation across the whole state, both of which pose a risk to the health of our participants and possibly others,” Mr Moore said.

NSWRL Chief Executive David Trodden said the advice has changed dramatically since they made the decision to suspend their competitions nine days ago.

The affected competitions in NSW include the Canterbury Cup NSW, Jersey Flegg Cup (Under 20s), UNE SG Ball Cup (Under 18s), Laurie Daley Cup (Under 18s), Harvey Norman Tarsha Gale Cup (Under 18s women), UNE Harold Matthews Cup (Under 16s), Andrew Johns Cup (Under 16s), Women’s Country Championships and Men’s Under 23s Country Championships.

“We have an obligation to be part of the solution for this pandemic, both for the Rugby League community and also for the community more generally. This view was uppermost in the minds of the Board,” Mr Trodden said.

Moore congratulated the entire rugby league community for the way it had come together during the public health emergency.

“The game is resilient – and so are our people,” he said.

“It’s not going to be easy, but we’re all in this together.
Nationwide, the Harvey Norman Women’s National Championship, National Schoolboys Championships and all Combined Affiliated States representative football have also been cancelled.


Tokyo 2020 | Olympic games officially postponed

The Tokyo Olympics has now officially been postponed to next year, amid the coronavirus.

Organisers met this week to make the call, after a number of countries – including Australia – deemed it impossible to put together a team under the circumstances.

The event, which was supposed to be held this July, will now be held next year.

The International Olympic Committee and Tokyo Olympic Games organisers have decided that it will not be held any later than summer 2021.

It’s understood the event will still be called ‘Tokyo 2020’ despite taking place in 2021.

This is the first delay in 124 years of the modern games.

Organisers believe the new event could stand as a ‘beacon of hope to the world during these trouble 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 flame will stay in Japan.

A-League season suspended amid coronavirus pandemic

Football Federation Australia has suspended the A-League season as sport around the world grinds to a halt.

The decision follows similar moves by the AFL and NRL with travel bans in Australia and New Zealand and self-isolation rules making it impossible to continue.

“Our priority is to ensure the safety of both the football community and the community at large,” FFA CEO James Johnson said.

“As each passing day raises additional concerns for the safety of both, it is imperative that we follow the lead of Governments at National and State level and take the necessary precautionary and proactive measures and in doing so play our part in preventing the spread and impact of COVID-19.”

FFA has not flagged a date for when it hopes to resume the competition but says it plans to reschedule games as soon as possible.

The decision will be reassessed on April 22.

“To get so close to completing the competition, only to pull up a few weeks short, has been heartbreaking for the players, clubs and fans,” Mr Johnson said.

“That said, the health and safety of our fans, players, volunteers and staff has always been the overriding consideration for us.

“That is fundamentally what led – with the unanimous support of the State and Territory Member Federations – to the suspension of grassroots football until 14 April 2020.

“Today’s decision was equally difficult to make but it is borne form the same rationale.”


NRL season officially suspended due to coronavirus crisis

The NRL has finally relented, with the 2020 season suspended indefinitely.

League bosses had vowed to plough on and continue playing for as long as possible.

They even had a contingency plan to play in regional Queensland.

But that was also thrown into disarray when the Queensland Government announced it was shutting the State’s borders.

ARL Commission Chair Peter V’landys says player safety has always been paramount.

“Unfortunately that’s taken a dramatic turn today. Our pandemic expert and our biosecurity expert have said that due to the rapid rate of infection that we can no longer guarantee the safety of our players to continue to play,” Mr V’landys said.

“Accordingly we are suspending the season.”

But no date has been set for when league bosses hope to recommence the season.

“We are going to look at every available option to us in the next week or so, whether it be in other areas, be it in northern Queensland, all of the options are still on the table.

“This decision hasn’t been taken lightly but we have a world-renowned pandemic expert and they are very, very concerned at the rapid rate of this infection.”

NRL boss Todd Greenberg says they tried to continue for as long as they could, but that’s now not possible.

“It is indeed a deeply sad day, but one of the most responsible days in our game’s history,” Mr Greenberg said.

“We would not have reached this point unless the conditions had shifted so dramatically and so exponentially.

“Today’s a difficult day for the rugby league community, both here at head office and across all of our clubs and players.

“Our priority is to do everything we can to give our game every chance for a long and sustainable future.”

The announcement came just hours after the NRL confirmed it was closing its own offices until May, forcing hundreds of staff to take annual leave.

Players have been told not to turn up to training on Tuesday and to maintain self-isolation guidelines issued to them last week

The AFL announced on Sunday that it would suspend its season until at least May 31.