The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) welcomes the announcement by the International Olympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee that the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee has decided that the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games will be postponed.
The Games will now be held in 2021 due to the global impact of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
In the statement, Chief Executive of the British Olympic Association, 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.
“Alongside UK Sport and the BPA, we have consulted with the National Governing Bodies of summer Olympic and Paralympic sports and with athlete representative groups, including our Athletes’ Commissions and the British Athletes’ Commission. It is with their input and support that we have a unanimous view that the impact of COVID‐19 on athletes’ training and preparation means their regimes are now compromised irreparably. It is time for them to stop thinking about Tokyo 2020 for now and be home and safe with their 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.”
Sally Munday, CEO of UK Sport said, “We welcome today’s decision from the IOC, IPC and Japan that the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be postponed. Given the unprecedented global challenge we face, today’s news means that athletes, their coaches and support staff can now fully focus on what really matters at this terribly difficult time, keeping themselves and their families safe.
“I’d like to thank all our athletes who are playing a role in so many different ways in these challenging times, from supporting their local communities to inspiring us to stay active in our own homes. I’d also like to reassure the public that whilst the games are postponed, we strongly believe the power of sport will inspire the nation again.”
Mike Sharrock, CEO of the British Paralympic Association, added: “The British Paralympic Association fully supports the decision to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games due to the COVID‐19 pandemic. Stemming this global public health crisis and doing everything possible to safeguard the health and wellbeing of people should clearly take priority in these unprecedented times.
“Now is the time for us all to work together to overcome this global threat. Sport has a unique power to inspire and bring people together and we are certain that the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games can be that beacon of hope for the whole world to focus on to show what the human spirit can achieve.”
Following the announcement, the BEF’s World Class Performance Director, Richard Waygood, commented: “While all our athletes and their connections are disappointed with the news, we now have a firm decision that will enable us to revise our plans for the coming months when we can get out competing again, and then beyond for Tokyo 2021. We all feel for the organisers, but the postponement was a necessary step in this global situation we are currently in, and we’ll all be ready for next year when we get our opportunity on the world’s biggest stage. For now, the health and wellbeing of everyone is the priority and must be the immediate focus.”