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The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) say they won't send athletes to compete at the Tokyo Games — set to begin July 24 — if they proceed as scheduled.
Backed by the Athletes' Commissions, National Sport Organizations and the Government of Canada, the COC and CPC say they "made the difficult decision to not send Canadian teams to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in the summer of 2020."
The two committees are calling on the International Olympic Committee to postpone the Games for a year, citing the safety of athletes and the general public amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"This is not solely about athlete health — it is about public health," the committees said in a statement Sunday nigh
"With COVID-19 and the associated risks, it is not safe for our athletes, and the health and safety of their families and the broader Canadian community for athletes to continue training towards these Games".
Following the announcement by the Canadian committees, Australia's chef de mission, Ian Chesterman, said it's clear the Games can't be held in July and urged they be postponed to 2021.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, speaking at a parliamentary session, said a postponement of the Tokyo Olympics would be unavoidable if the Games cannot be held in a complete way because of the coronavirus pandemic.
"If it is difficult to hold [the Games] in a complete way, a decision of postponement would be unavoidable," he said.
Abe said he hoped the IOC would make a decision early if it is postponed, because the process would involve a lot of work and should start as soon as possible.
The COC's Sunday statement also cited the scope of the public health threat.
"Containing the virus must be our paramount concern. We are in the midst of a global health crisis that is far more significant than sport."
Seyi Smith, chair of the Canadian Olympic Committee Athletes' Commission, said the decision will ensure people are safe — and will also ensure Canada has the best competitive team.
"It's been a collective process to get here," Smith said.
He said officials from the COC spent all Sunday calling the 14 members of the athletes' commission to get their insights on how to proceed.
"It's the uncertainty that is the worst thing. In sport and in life. People are sick, people are dying."
Amante delle profondità umane e ricercatore delle motivazioni che muovono l'universo mondo, ama lo sport di squadra e ogni sua evoluzione possibile, la musica AOR e tutto quanto si chiama "PROSPETTIVA"