The 2020 Tokyo Summer Paralympics Have Been Postponed
After the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics were postponed Monday by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the 2020 Tokyo Summer Paralympic Games have followed suit. On Tuesday, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) announced that the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games have been postponed. They join a host of other major sports organizations, including the NBA, MLB, NHL, NASCAR and IndyCar, to postpone their events.
The Olympics, which were schedule to run July 24-Aug. 9, were postponed until next year, no later than summer 2021. The 2020 Paralympic Games were scheduled for Aug. 25-Sept. 6 in Tokyo. It’s unknown at this time whether the Paralympics will follow the Olympics by a couple of weeks or not.
“Postponing the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games as a result of the global COVID-19 outbreak is absolutely the right thing to do. The health and well-being of human life must always be our number one priority and staging a sport event of any kind during this pandemic is simply not possible,” says IPC President Andrew Parsons in a press release. “Sport is not the most important thing right now, preserving human life is. It is essential therefore that all steps are taken to try and limit the spread of this disease. The COVID-19 outbreak is now impacting nearly every country in the world and the number of known cases has increased almost five times over in the last 10 days to 375,000. At a time when many major communities around the world are in lockdown, with workplaces and shops closed and people urged not to leave their own homes, continuing to pursue the dream of the Tokyo 2020 Games happening this year does not make sense; postponement is the only logical option.”
More than 4,400 athletes from countries throughout the world were expected to compete in the Paralympics this year. Chelsey Gotell, chairperson of the IPC Athletes’ Council, says that from an athlete viewpoint, it’s the right decision.
“It enables athletes to take a step back and focus on the current situation at hand,” Gotell says in a press release. “No athlete in the world wants to go into a major competition, let alone the Paralympic Games, unsure of fitness or form. But this was the situation many athletes around the world were facing up to, due to an inability to train or compete in events due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Now that a decision has been taken, it is important that the para athlete community come together, rally around and support each other during this difficult time. We should also look to use our influential positions in society to encourage others to take the right measures to stay safe during this uncertain period.”