The International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) supports the decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee to postpone the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Following the joint announcement from the IOC and Tokyo 2020, IWBF’s President, Ulf Mehrens, said:
“IWBF fully supports the decision made to postpone the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The health and safety of the athletes, supporters, and everyone involved is our shared priority and responsibility and we believe the right decision has been taken in these very difficult and unprecedented circumstances.
“Although there will be initial disappointment for the athletes and teams who have been preparing the last four years, there are times when sport has to take a backseat and right now the focus must be on assisting in the effort to try to contain the spread of the virus. For the athletes and all those who were concerned in trying to prepare for Tokyo under such difficult circumstances, the announcement will mean they can now focus on their health and wellbeing and staying safe.
“Our sport was in the advantageous position that all qualifiers had taken place and the field had already been set, but a number of sports weren’t in this position, and so a postponement will help guarantee the best athletes of their sport will participate in the Games and keep the standard at the very highest quality.
“We will continue working together with the IPC and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and all other stakeholders towards the rescheduling of the Paralympic Games to ensure when the Games do happen in Tokyo next year, they will be a spectacular celebration of not only sport but the human spirit.
“As well we would like to thank all the hardworking staff and volunteers of TOCOG. The postponement will mean a further extension of their work and exceptional effort to mobilise the Games and ensure dreams are realised and we will all experience the best games ever.
“We are closely monitoring developments as the global situation and response to coronavirus (COVID-19) evolves, and will continue to take steps to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the wheelchair basketball community where possible.”