officials eyeing July 23, 2021, start for postponed Olympics






Berlin - By Volker Gundrum, - The postponed Tokyo Olympics appear set set to have the same time slot in 2021 as originally planned for this year, according to reports Sunday.

Japanese broadcasters NHK and the New York Times said that the preferred option is to open the Games on July 23, with the closing ceremony on August 8, citing sources familiar with the matter.



The Games were originally set for July 24-August 9 this year before being pushed back in an unprecedented move by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and local organizers because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Paralympics are also to keep their slot, expected to be held August 24-September 5, according to NHK.
IOC president Thomas Bach said earlier in the week a final decision should be reached within the next three weeks. NHK said a new date could be confirmed within a week.
Another emergency IOC executive board meeting was reportedly scheduled for Sunday while Japanese organizers were set to meet Monday.
Bach had been open to other dates and some international federations had suggested moving the Games to spring 2021, to avoid the intense summer heat which has been a concern.
They included the ruling table tennis body ITTF which also its world championships set for June 17-26 next year in the US.
But ITTF president Thomas Weikert admitted to dpa that the likely new slot is "realistic" even though it is "far from ideal."
Keeping the July/August slot makes it easier to accommodate the Games in a full sports calendar and should also be the preferred scenario for American broadcasters NBC who have paid more that 12 billion dollars for the rights 2014-2032.
Several world championships, including in the Olympic showcase sports of swimming and athletics, would have to be rescheduled to fit in the Games next year. Weikert meanwhile said that the table tennis worlds would not get a new date.
World Athletics chief Sebastian Coe, the chief organizer of the London 2012 Olympics, has said his body and local organizers are looking into the possibility to push back the worlds in Oregon to 2022. Swimming's FINA is also reportedly flexible but said to want to keep their event in Fukuoka, Japan, in 2021.

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Monday, March 30th 2020
By Volker Gundrum,
           


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