The Sevens team of Team GB will have to wait until 2021 to compete for gold at the Olympics, after the Japanese prime minister announced the Tokyo Games will be postponed.
Shinzo Abe held talks today with International Olympic Committee (IOC) president, Thomas Bach, over the prospect of holding the Tokyo Olympics in July and August.
In the face of mounting pressure due to the coronavirus pandemic, Abe said the Games would be postponed after establishing with the IOC that cancelling the event would be out of the question.
“We agreed that a postponement would be the best way to ensure that the athletes are in peak condition when they compete and to guarantee the safety of the spectators,” Abe told reporters shortly after his conversation with Bach, adding that the Games would be held by the summer of 2021.
The Tokyo Olympics “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 IOC and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee said later in a joint statement.
With the Olympic flame set to stay in Japan and the host nation estimated to lose around £3.8bn as a result of today’s (Tuesday) decision, the postponement of the Games means Team GB’s Men’s Sevens teams will have to wait on their medal hopes.
Welcoming the news of the postponed Tokyo Olympics, BOA (British Olympic Association) chief executive, Andy Anson said: “It is with profound sadness that we accept the postponement, but in all consciousness it is the only decision we can support, in light of the devastating impact COVID-19 is having on our nation, our communities and our families.
“It would have been unthinkable for us to continue to prepare for an Olympic Games at a time the nation and the world no less is enduring great hardship. A postponement is the right decision.”
Almost four years ago in Rio, the Men’s team, coached by Simon Amor, had to settle for silver as a faultless Fiji team claimed gold with a resounding 43-7 win.
While the Women’s team, featuring the likes of Katy Daley-Mclean, Heather Fisher and Amy Wilson-Hardy, lost to Canada 33-10 in the bronze medal match after topping their pool unbeaten.
The spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) has already impacted preparations for the Olympics in Tokyo, months after Japan hosted the Rugby World Cup.
In a statement last Friday World Rugby confirmed World Sevens Series events in Hong Kong and Singapore would be rescheduled to October, while also announcing the postponement of London and Paris to a date, yet to be determined, later in the year.