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End of Olympic dream? Delayed Tokyo Olympics present headache for both athletes, organisers Updated: 2020-03-27 05:50:04 KST

Let's begin a discussion with experts from around the world to break down the issues making headlines.
After weeks of will they or won't they and relentless pledges it would go ahead as planned, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games have been pushed back to 2021, in light of the COVID -19 outbreak.
Given the pandemic, the decision was met with shock, but also relief.
But what does this mean for the athletes who had been planning their whole lives around this summer?
Not to mention the sheer cost of rearranging the 16 day event with tens of thousands of staff, volunteers and spectators readjusting their schedules?
Today we have joining us British journalist Tariq Panja who is a London-based sports reporter for The New York Times.
We also have Jerry Ling, Chief of Staff at World Taekwondo who was Head of Games Planning and Director of Sport Services during the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Let's start with you Tariq, the IOC, Tokyo 2020 organizers and Japanese officials insisted for weeks that the 2020 Games would go on as scheduled despite widespread criticism. Why did Tokyo and IOC change their tone all of a sudden and why did it take so long?

[Jerry] Now it’s postponed to 2021, what comes next for the athletes and can all of them keep their Olympic dreams alive?

[Jerry] Taekwondo has been on the official Olympic program since 2000, but the 2020 Games is quite special because taekwondo was set to make its Paralympic debut at Tokyo 2020. How has the decision to postpone affected the Federation and the athletes?

[Tariq] It’s safe to say Tokyo and IOC made the right decision to postpone. What are some of the logistical and financial problems ahead before summer 2021?

[Jerry] Finances are also be a headache for the athletes, especially if they can't secure sponsorships for another year. And for some athletes, a year's extension could be too long to wait. What kind of complications do the entrants face?

[Tariq] Most people assumed the Games will be held around roughly the same July-August timetable but this would clash with other major sporting events. IOC President Thomas Bach said earlier dates in 2021 were possible. Do you think there’s a chance that we would be having a ‘Summer Olympics’ in April or May instead of July or August?

That's all we have time for today.
Thank you for joining the program, Tariq Panja in London and Jerry Ling in Seoul.

Reporter : osy@arirang.com
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