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Already-qualified athletes will keep spots at postponed Tokyo Games

All athletes who had qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will keep their places for the Games next year following their postponement due to the coronavirus pandemic, the International Olympic Committee stated on Friday.

The IOC and Japanese organizers postponed the July 24-Aug 9 event earlier this week but confirmed that those among the 11,000 athletes set to compete in Tokyo who had already earned their spot would keep it.

The IOC also said that the amount of spots allocated for each sport at the Games would stay the same next year.

“The 57 per cent  that are qualified do remain in place and the goal is to maintain the same athletes quotas across the different sports,” an IOC official stated.

The virus has wreaked havoc with sports schedules and forced the cancellation of many Olympic qualifiers across many sports.

Athletes have also been restricted in their training due to measures taken to stop the spread.

Though a huge blow to Japan, which has invested $12 billion US in the run-up to the Games, the decision to postpone was a relief to thousands of athletes fretting over training with the world heading into lockdown to battle a disease that has killed thousands of people. 

This week’s decision by the International Olympic Committee and Japan’s organizing committee to postpone the Tokyo Games to 2021 was a relief to Canada’s athletes who weren’t going if the Games were held this summer.

But the current shutdown of sport worldwide means athletes aren’t earning prize money from competitions, nor performance bonuses from sponsors.

Some good news for Canadian athletes is a disruption isn’t expected in 2020-21 to their monthly Athletes Assistance Program cheques from Sport Canada, also known as “carding” money, that covers living expenses such as rent and food.

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