Norway urges Olympics to be postponed until COVID-19 crisis abates

The Norwegian Olympic Committee recommends to the IOC not to conduct the Games until the situation was under firm control.

People gather to take a look at Olympic flame on display in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture, north of Tokyo, on Saturday.   -  AP

The Norwegian Olympic Committee (NOC) said on Saturday it had asked the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to postpone the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo until the new coronavirus pandemic was under control.

In a letter sent to the IOC on Friday, the Norwegian sports body said it was “concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic and the public health situation both nationally and internationally.”

“Our clear recommendation is that the Olympic Games in Tokyo shall not take place before the COVID-19 situation is under firm control on a global scale,” the letter continued.

Challenging times

The NOC also pointed out that one of the measures undertaken in order to curb the spread of the virus in Norway was a ban on organised sports activities, which had created “a very challenging time for the sports movement in Norway.”

Speaking to AFP, communications advisor to the NOC Sofie Olsen said: “We want to emphasise that the IOC make a decision sooner than later so that everyone can have a fair chance of preparing.”

ALSO READ | No need to rush Olympics decision, says U.S.

As of Friday, 258,930 cases of the new coronavirus had been confirmed with 11,129 deaths, across 163 countries and territories. The Olympics is increasingly in doubt as the pandemic, which emerged in China last year but has now spread around the world, shows no sign of slowing down.

American swim federation USA Swimming asked for the Games to be postponed on Friday and was joined by its French counterpart on Saturday. However, IOC president Thomas Bach insisted this week it was “premature” to consider postponing the Tokyo Games, which are scheduled to start on July 24.

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