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Team Ireland head hopes Olympics delay can help improve athletes

Stephen Doyle
Stephen Doyle

15:00 30 Mar 2020

The head of Team Ireland is hoping that the delay to the start of the Tokyo Olympics might give Irish athletes more time to make improvements.

The new dates for the rescheduled Summer Games were announced by the International Olympic Committee on Monday.

The 32nd Olympic Games had been scheduled for July 24 this year but were forced to be postponed due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The Tokyo 2020 Opening Ceremony will now take place on July 23 and will run until August 8.

The Paralympic Games will start on August 24th next year, concluding on September 6th.

Speaking after the announcement the Chef de Mission for Team Ireland in Tokyo, Tricia Heberle (pictured), welcomed the clarification of a date from the IOC.

"Now the athletes have a start date for the Games, they can work with their Performance Directors and coaches to start mapping out preparations," said Heberle.

"Importantly for athletes and sport, the next information we need clarity on are any changes to qualification and the rescheduling of qualification events.

"This will take some time, so in the short term the focus remains the same, stay healthy and safe over the coming months."

Heberle feels that there is enough time to put new plans in place for all the various athletes while she also feels that some might make some improvements with the longer lead-in time to Tokyo 2020.

"The priority now is for everyone to following the government guidelines to protect Ireland and the rest of the world against further spread of this virus," she added.

"A July 2021 start means that we have plenty of time to reactivate preparatory plans and for athletes currently in modified training or on a break of sorts, this period of time can still allow some positive impact on performance.

"If we are smart, this enforced break can make Team Ireland even better."

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IOC Olympic Games Team Ireland Tokyo 2020 Tricia Heberle

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