• The Australian Olympic Sailing Team at Weymouth. Image courtesy Beau Outteridge.
    The Australian Olympic Sailing Team at Weymouth. Image courtesy Beau Outteridge.
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Today [24 March 2020] the International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee issued a joint statement announcing the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Available on the IOC website here, the statement read, “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.”

World Sailing, the world governing body of the sport, supports the IOC and Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee decision to ensure the health and well-being of athletes, fans and support personnel worldwide.

President Kim Andersen and the World Sailing Executive Office are in direct communication with the IOC Sports Department. The IOC are engaging with World Sailing to develop the necessary plans in full partnership and to ensure full transparency with a focus on information for World Sailing and the athletes.

In the short term, World Sailing will not hold Olympic qualification events for Africa, Asia or Europe. World Sailing is working with the IOC on an update to the qualification system where our recommendation will be to look at hosting qualifications events in late 2020 or early 2021.

World Sailing will now work with the IOC and Tokyo 2020 on timing of the postponed Olympic Games, necessary adaptations to Games delivery plans and Olympic qualification systems.

Following the IOC decision, World Sailing is working closely with the Japanese Sailing Federation, the Organising Committee of the 2020 Hempel World Cup Series Final, and will communicate decisions on the 2021 event calendar shortly.

Australian Sailing Statement

The IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have announced 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.

This follows the Australian Olympic Committee’s announcement that Australian athletes should prepare for a Tokyo Olympic Games in the northern summer of 2021, following changes in the public health landscape in Australia and across the globe.

I appreciate the need to contain the outbreak of COVID-19, and like the IOC and AOC consider the health and safety of our athletes and the wider community to be paramount.

I am also aware that there are many who are facing much more difficult circumstances than us as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. We need to work together to fight this pandemic through good hygiene practices and abiding by social distancing recommendations for the greater good.

The decision to postpone the Games will require a significant change of planning for the Australian Sailing Team who have been immersed in their final preparations for Tokyo 2020, but the team will use this extra time efficiently to further enhance our exciting 2021 prospects.

The athletes have put a lifetime of work in to preparing for these Games, so our priority now turns to ensuring their wellbeing through our network of support services.

Our team will also immediately commence reviewing and adjusting plans for an Olympic Games in 2021. 

I would like to thank and acknowledge the Australian Sailing staff, members of the Australian Sailing Team and the athletes’ support networks at this difficult time. We also acknowledge the families, partners, coaches, clubs, the National Institute Network and many others that contribute to the ongoing success of our team.

I am confident that the Australian sailing community is strong, resilient and determined, and that we will come out of this ready to succeed.

Please remember to refer to Australian Sailing’s COVID-19 information page for updates on the outbreak and its impact on sailing clubs, along with other valuable links and resources.

Ben Houston
Chief Executive Officer
Australian Sailing

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