Australia has pulled out of the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, telling its athletes to prepare for a postponed event in the summer of 2021.
“Australian athletes should prepare for a Tokyo Olympic Games in the northern summer of 2021, following the IOC’s announcement of a potential postponement of this year’s Games and changes in public health landscape in Australia and across the globe,” the Australian Olympic Committee said.
“The AOC believes our athletes now need to prioritise their own health and of those around them, and to be able to return to the families, in discussion with their National Federations.”
The decision by Australia follows Canada which also announced it would withdraw.
While the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has given itself a four-week deadline to make a decision on whether the Games will go ahead as planned in July, IOC Committee member Dick Pound has said they have already decided to postpone.
“On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided,” Pound told USA today.
“The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on 24 July, that much I know.”
Pound says a decision will nonetheless be announced soon.
“It will come in stages,” he said.
“We will postpone this and begin to deal with all the ramifications of moving this, which are immense.”