Tokyo Olympics 2020: Bajrang Punia welcomes IOC's decision to postpone Games, says athletes' health comes first
Wrestler Bajrang Punia on Tuesday welcomed the International Olympic Committee's decision to postpone the Tokyo Olympics due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The wrestler also said that health of the athletes always come first and as a result, the decision to postpone the games was a necessary one.
"I told you earlier as well that postponing the Olympics will be the right thing to do looking at the present scenario. Every athlete's health comes first, so as a result, I would say this is a good decision as coronavirus has put the entire world in a lockdown," Punia told ANI.
Earlier on Tuesday, for the first time in the history of the mega global event, the Olympics were postponed by a year.
The decision was confirmed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) after the organising body for the event and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed to reschedule the Tokyo Olympics in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Olympics were cancelled in the past but were never postponed.
In 1916, 1940 and 1944, the Games were cancelled because of the World Wars.
The Tokyo Olympics will now take place next year.
The IOC has, however, said that the original name of Tokyo 2020 will remain intact irrespective of the fact that it will take place next year.
"In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan 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," the IOC said in an official statement.
The Tokyo Olympic Games were slated to be held from 24 July to 9 August, while the Paralympic Games were scheduled to be held from 25 August to 6 September.
The pandemic-delayed 2020 Games are due to open on 23 July in Tokyo, but a surge in cases in parts of the country is creating new concerns.
Tokyo 2020 and FINA said the decision to reschedule the Diving World Cup came after "a very fruitful consultation process" also involving the Japanese government and the International Olympic Committee.
Toshiro Nikai, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's number two, said the Olympics must be cancelled "without hesitation" if the virus situation is too severe.