Today, at 4.00pm (Malaysian time), I have, together with several other National Olympic Committees, concluded a tele-conferencing session with the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The session was chaired by Mr Thomas Bach, President of the IOC and moderated by Mr James Macleod, Director of the Olympic Solidarity and NOC Relations.
The IOC President addressed the factors which led to the joint decision of the IOC and Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee to postpone the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 to next year.
Among other matters which were discussed were:
1. Dates of the Tokyo Olympics:
- A “Here We Go” Task Force consisting of members from the IOC, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and other stakeholders had been established to immediately look into matters in relation to setting new dates for the Tokyo Olympics. The task force will also examine operational matters, venues, accommodation etc.
- With regards to the dates of the Olympic Games in 2021, many favoured the summer window rather than spring so as to give a longer qualification period and more time for athlete preparation.
2. Qualification process:
- The IOC noted that approximately 57% of more than the anticipated 11,000 athletes who will be competing in Tokyo have already qualified. Following the IOC’s discussions with International Sports Federations (IFs) yesterday, the IOC confirmed that all athletes who have already qualified will be guaranteed a place at the Olympic Games to be held next year.
- For the remaining places, the IOC and IFs can only revert on a more concrete qualification procedure once the dates of Tokyo Olympics have been decided.
The IOC and IFs will make their decisions based on the principle of fairness. Age restriction in relation to specific sports like football will also be decided soon too.
3. Olympic Solidarity scholarships to athletes which was due to end in July 2020, will now continue till the Olympic Games. Malaysia has a total of fourteen (14) athletes receiving the Olympic Solidarity scholarships.
The Olympic Council of Malaysia will continue to work closely with the IOC, Ministry of Youth & Sports and our National Sports Associations to protect the interests of our athletes.
DATO’ SRI NORZA ZAKARIA
PRESIDENT, OLYMPIC COUNCIL OF MALAYSIA
27 MARCH 2020