Shropshire-based British Gymnastics welcomes Olympics postponement
News that the Olympic Games have been postponed has been welcomed by British Gymnastics, which is based near Telford.
The sports body, which is based out of Lilleshall's National Sports Centre, said the announcement gave clarity and allowed its athletes to focus on themselves and their families at a difficult time.
It comes after organisers of Tokyo 2020 and members of the International Olympic Committee said that the games would have to be postponed to 2021 in order to safeguard the health of athletes due to coronavirus.
In a statement, British Gymnastics said: "We fully support today’s announcement regarding the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Our thoughts turn to the people of Japan and in particular to the local organising committee in what must be an incredibly difficult time.
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"This announcement gives the clarity that is needed to allow our athletes to focus on themselves, their families and their friends as we all play our role at this difficult time.
"We fully recognise that the postponement of an Olympic Games will be devastating to many of our athletes, and we have reiterated our commitment to providing all the support available to help them, as we are the whole gymnastics community, to navigate through these exceptional circumstances.
"We will work with our International Federation, the Federation International Gymnastique (FIG), on the Olympic qualification system and events. We can then begin to make more long-term plans for our Olympic Programmes and support our gymnasts to enable them to come back even stronger. We look forward to them being able to deliver amazing performances when we all return to action."
The organisers of Tokyo 2020 and the International Olympic Committee said: "The unprecedented and unpredictable spread of the outbreak has seen the situation in the rest of the world deteriorating.
"On Monday, the director general of the World Health Organization, 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, 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."