TORONTO: The Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee have said they won’t send athletes to Tokyo Olympics which are scheduled to begin on July 24.
Amid concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, Canada won’t have a team at Olympics in Tokyo unless the Games are postponed by one year.
“While we recognize the inherent complexities around a postponement, nothing is more important than the health and safety of our athletes and the world community,” the COC said in its statement.
#TeamCanada will not send athletes to Games in summer 2020 due to COVID-19 risks.🔗https://t.co/AKmI2rbyeO pic.twitter.com/8McEbgirVp — Team Canada (@TeamCanada) March 23, 2020
Canada is the first country to threaten such a move in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. The country brought 314 athletes who combined to win 22 medals at the Rio Games in 2016.
Shortly after Team Canada’s announcement, the Australian Olympic Committee said a delegation “could not be assembled in the changing circumstances at home and abroad” and told its athletes to prepare for the Olympics to be held in 2021.
“We are now in a position where we can plan with greater certainty.”AOC plans for postponed Olympic Games 👉 https://t.co/7YYRMp4xMI#Tokyo2020 #covid19australia #TokyoTogether pic.twitter.com/oPW6nXGdZk — AUS Olympic Team (@AUSOlympicTeam) March 23, 2020
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also publicly acknowledged the possibility of postponing the Games for the first time Monday.
Until a final decision is reached, the Tokyo Games are still scheduled to begin July 24 — a little more than four months from now.