The Aussie Spirit’s 12 year wait to return to the Olympic Games has been extended by another 12 months following confirmation from the IOC the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will be postponed.
Softball Australia Chief Executive Officer, David Pryles, said the organisation is fully supportive of the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) and their stance on postponement over the last two days.
“We commend AOC Chief Executive Officer Matt Carroll and the whole AOC team for their guidance and leadership during a difficult period. We fully support their position on putting our athlete’s welfare at the forefront of their decision to support postponing the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games,” said Pryles.
“Our athletes, along with all athletes around the world, will welcome the extra time to prepare for the Olympics as it is obviously difficult to train efficiently in the current climate.”
Importantly, the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) has confirmed Australia and the other five nations who have already qualified for the Olympics will not need to go through the qualification process again and will keep their spot in Tokyo.
“For the Aussie Spirit, their goal remains the same albeit the target has been pushed to a 2021 start date and I have full confidence in our Head Coach Laing Harrow and the rest of the High Performance team in keeping them on track in these uncertain times,” added Pryles.
“We look forward to presenting a team at full strength in Tokyo 2021.”
The full IOC statement is below:
The President of the IOC, Thomas Bach, and the Prime Minister of Japan, Abe Shinzo, held a conference call to discuss the constantly changing environment with regard to COVID-19 and the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
President Bach and Prime Minister Abe expressed their shared concern about the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, and what it is doing to people’s lives and the significant impact it is having on global athletes’ preparations for the Games.
In a very friendly and constructive meeting, the two leaders praised the work of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and noted the great progress being made in Japan to fight against COVID-19.
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.
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 leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present. Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan.
It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.