IOC reiterates full commitment to Tokyo 2020 

Discussions with Olympic Summer Sports Federations also focus on challenges of qualification

By ZK Goh ·

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has repeated that it “remains fully committed to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020” in a communiqué issued today (17 March) following discussions with the Olympic Summer Sports Federations.

“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,” it said.

"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.”

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23 Jul - 8 Aug

Tokyo 2020 | Olympic Games

Japan

Athletes’ interests

The IOC Executive Board has agreed two “overriding principles about the staging of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020”, the statement said.

They are to “protect the health of everyone involved and to support the containment of the virus”, and “safeguard the interests of the athletes and of Olympic sport”.

In addition, the IOC said it “encourages all athletes to continue to prepare for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 as best they can” and would continue to support athletes through consultations with them and the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) as well as by providing information through the Athlete365 portal.

IOC President Thomas Bach said: “The health and well-being of all those involved in the preparations for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is our number-one concern.

“All measures are being taken to safeguard the safety and interests of athletes, coaches and support teams. We are an Olympic community; we support one another in good times and in difficult times. This Olympic solidarity defines us as a community.”

Bach "fully committed" to Tokyo 2020

After the ceremonial lighting of the Olympic Flame in Ancient Olympia, IOC ...

Qualification challenges

Another issue facing the IOC and International Federations is the effect of the ongoing pandemic on qualification for Tokyo 2020.

"Currently, all Olympic Movement stakeholders and the athletes face significant challenges around securing the final qualification places for the Games," the communique read. "In some countries, athletes are even finding it hard to continue their regular training schedules. The IOC is reassured by the solidarity and flexibility shown by the athletes, the IFs and the NOCs, that are managing these challenges across a number of sports."

The IOC says that 43 per cent of Olympic quota places have yet to be awarded.

For the 57 per cent already awarded, “all quota places that have already been allocated to date remain allocated to the NOCs and athletes that obtained them.”

It was agreed that “the possibility remains to use existing and scheduled qualification events, wherever these still have fair access for all athletes and teams”, although most events that have not yet been cancelled are affected in some manner by travel and other restrictions.

The third point of agreement between the IOC and IFs was that should changes to qualification be necessary, places would be “based on on-field results”, such as past performances or a ranking system, and “reflect where possible the existing principles of the respective qualification systems (e.g. use of rankings or continental/regional specific event results).”

Any changes to qualification systems for Tokyo 2020 are expected to be published by the start of next month.

The IOC’s discussions will continue in the coming days with NOCs, athletes’ representatives, other international federations and other stakeholders such as the International Paralympic Committee.