Featured image: Flickr, Leandro Neumann Ciuffo

It’s official, the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games will be postponed to no later than summer 2021.

On Tuesday March 24, amidst the start of the highly anticipated Cherry Blossom season, International Olympic Committee president, Thomas Bach, and Japan Prime Minister Abe Shinzo released a joint statement. In the statement, they praised Olympic event organizers and addressed COVID-19 concerns. To date, the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) disease has spread to 190 countries with over 300,000 confirmed cases and more than 15,000 deaths. Earlier in March, The World Health Organization (WHO) labeled the disease a pandemic.

Athletes have expressed concerns about training during the pandemic. With countless facilities shut down, qualification matches cancelled, and stay-at-home orders placed, the postponement was inevitable. Nonetheless, Liberian athletes and their competitors should consider the development a delay, not a cancellation.  As soon as the pandemic subsides, the qualification pathway for both the Olympic and Paralympic games should resume.

As more news develops, GoTeamLiberia will update this article. The Tokyo 2020 committee released the following public statement on Instagram.

“To safeguard the health of the athletes, and everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games will now take place no later than summer 2021.

This decision was made following talks today by the International Olympic Committee, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, and representatives from the Government of Japan.” — @tokyo2020