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MBABANE – The nine Olympics-bound athletes will now have ample time to prepae for the games after their postponement to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The games that were billed for July 24 to August 9, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan have been postponed by a year after an outcry from some stakeholders. A joint statement from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Tokyo 2020 organising committee confirmed yesterday. “In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, 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,” read the statements.

The country’s athletes who were billed for the games included athletes Sibusiso ‘Swazi Bolt’ Matsenjwa, Andile Lusenga, Phumlile Ndzinisa, taekwondo artists Wandile Maziya and Saneliso Masuku, swimmers Simanga Dlamini and Robyn Young and boxers Thabiso Dlamini and Zweli Dlamini. The confusion regarding the Olympics came after the cancellations of the qualifiers with athletes not knowing what will happened next.

The organisers were also insisting that the games go on despite the coronavirus outcry in the world. The athletes have already started the qualifiers. Boxing went to Senegal, Taekwondo artists were in Morocco with athletes competing in the AGN competitions in South Africa while the two swimmers qualifiers were due for Durban, South Africa next month. Eswatini Olympics and Commonwealth Games Association (EOCGA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sydney Simelane said they were going to welcome any decision taken even though it would hit hard on the athletes whatever decision is taken.

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