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Tokyo 2020 set to start exactl...
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Tokyo 2020 set to start exactly one year later - report

Stephen Doyle
Stephen Doyle

16:40 29 Mar 2020

Talks between the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Tokyo 2020 organisers over a new date for the Games are into the final stages.

It was confirmed five days ago, after a discussion between IOC president Thomas Bach and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, that the Tokyo 2020 was being postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Japanese public broadcaster NHK has cited unnamed sources reporting that the opening ceremony of the rescheduled Tokyo Games will most likely take place on July 23.

The closing ceremony would then take place on August 8, with each event taking place a day earlier on the calendar than the original 2020 plan.

It had been mooted that the Games could take place at any time of year but it is thought that Abe announced the one year delay in further discussions with Bach with a final decision expected at the end of next week.

Holding the Games later rather than earlier leaves more time for the coronavirus crisis to be dealt with and in turn ensuring that athletes have enough time to adjust their preparations.

It is the first time in the 124-year history of the modern Olympic Games, that they have been postponed.

The Olympic flame will now be displayed in Fukushima for a month before it is moved to Tokyo.

The flame arrived in Japan on March 20 after a handover ceremony in Athens and according to local reports, it will go on display at the J-Villiage football stadium in Fukushima from April.

The flame will then be brought back to the Japanese capital but Tokyo 2020 organisers have not decided yet where to keep it.

Meanwhile, Irish sprinter Jason Smyth is one of thousands of athletes readjusting their training preparation for next year's event.

Smyth has said this is no time for slowing things down even though the Games have been postponed.

"You can’t put the feet up. What you do this year sets the foundations for next year," added Smyth.

"In my sport, we’re preparing to run fast during the summer so if I decide to take a break, by the time next year comes around I’ll be looking back and thinking 'when was the last time I ran really fast?'

"The answer would be the summer of 2019 – that’s far too far away."

You can read the full Smyth interview here.

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