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Already-qualified athletes will keep spots at 2021 Games in Tokyo

Already-qualified athletes will keep spots at 2021 Games in Tokyo
A giant Olympic rings monument is seen at dusk at Odaiba Marine Park in Tokyo, Japan, 25 March 2020. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach agreed on 24 March to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympics until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. EPA-EFE/FRANCK ROBICHON

ATHENS, March 27 (Reuters) - All athletes who had qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will keep their spots for the Games next year following their postponement due to the coronavirus pandemic, the International Olympic Committee said on Friday.

The IOC and Japanese organisers 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 remain the same next year.

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

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 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 fight a disease that has killed thousands of people. (Reporting by Karolos Grohmann Editing by Toby Davis)

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