Olympic combat athletes looking to compete at the Games in Tokyo this summer will now have to wait another year. The Olympics and Paralympics have been postponed, like many events around the world, in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This marks the first time the Games have been postponed outside of wartime.
There is no word yet on exactly when the Games will take place next summer, but the Games had been scheduled to occur from July 24 to August 9 of 2020 with preliminary events beginning July 22.
Sports Illustrated reported Tokyo has spent $12 billion to host the event. The IOC Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee made a joint statement announcing the postponement on March 24. Read the full statement here.
“In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.
“The unprecedented and unpredictable spread of the outbreak has seen the situation in the rest of the world deteriorating. Yesterday, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that the COVID-19 pandemic is ‘accelerating.’ There are more than 375,000 cases now recorded worldwide and in nearly every country, and their number is growing by the hour.”
Next year will be a busy year for the Olympic community as another IOC-recognized event, The World Games, are set to take place in Birmingham, Ala., from July 15 to July 25, 2021. The World Games features sports recognized by the IOC, but most are not yet a part of the Olympic program.
The Summer Olympics currently feature boxing, judo, taekwondo, and both freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling, with karate originally set to debut in 2020. Combat sports at The World Games include aikido, jiu-jitsu, karate, kickboxing, Muay Thai, and sumo wrestling.