The International Canoe Federation has welcomed the decision of the International Olympic Committee, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and the Japanese Government to postpone this year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The ICF said while it was a tough decision to make for all involved, it was the right decision and the best outcome for the athletes.
“We congratulate the IOC, the Japanese Government and Tokyo 2020 organisers for making this brave but essential decision,” ICF President, Jose Perurena, said.
“It was right for everyone involved to give every possible chance for the Olympics and the Paralympics to proceed this year. Moving an event like the Olympics is an enormous task and should only be done if completely unavoidable.
“The worldwide spread of the coronavirus has made today’s decision unavoidable. We congratulate all involved for putting the health and safety of everyone in the Olympic family, and the international community, first.
“The ICF is ready to work with the IOC and Tokyo 2020 organisers to ensure the transition to a new date can happen as smoothly as possible. We are confident that the Games will still be an incredible success, no matter when they take place.”
Mr Perurena said the coronavirus had already caused enormous disruption to the 2020 canoeing season, and had caused problems for athletes still trying to qualify for the Games. He said many athletes all over the world were unable to train on water.
Mr Perurena said the ICF would work quickly to put into play its contingency plans that had been drawn up in the event of the Olympics and Paralympics being postponed. This will involve further discussions with the IOC about possible new dates for the Games.
But he urged patience from the canoeing family, as the ongoing spread of the virus would continue to pose problems for event organisers and athletes.