IOC working toward July-August Olympics in 2021: Yomiuri


FILE PHOTO: The Olympic rings are pictured in front of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) headquarters, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Lausanne, Switzerland, March 24, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

TOKYO (Reuters) – The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is working with sports bodies to arrange a July-August window for the postponed Tokyo Olympics in 2021 and hopes to confirm the schedule within a month, Japan’s Yomiuri newspaper reported on Thursday.

John Coates, the IOC’s Coordination Commission chief for Tokyo, told the Yomiuri the Games would have to be held between the tennis Grand Slams of Wimbledon, slated to end in mid-July, and the U.S. Open, which starts in late August.

“We want to more or less finalize the dates in four weeks’ time,” the paper quoted Coates as saying.

Coates, who is also president of the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC), said the summer scheduling would be dependent on avoiding clashes with the world championships for swimming (July 16-Aug. 1) and athletics (Aug. 6-15).

World Athletics boss Sebastian Coe has said the world athletics championships in Eugene, Oregon could be moved back to 2022 if necessary.

Coates told the newspaper the hope was to follow the same arrangements next year that had been planned for 2020, including holding the marathon in the northern city of Sapporo instead of Tokyo to escape the heat.

The AOC confirmed the Yomiuri report’s veracity and also told Reuters in a statement that Coates had “proffered a view but confirms a range of options are on the table for the IOC”.

The IOC and Japanese government succumbed to intense pressure from athletes and sporting bodies around the world on Tuesday, agreeing to push back the Games by as much as a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

IOC President Thomas Bach said on Wednesday that “all options” were on the table for rescheduling, including holding the Games before the Japanese summer.

Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim in Tokyo and Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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