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Paralympics: Specific COVID-19 measures may be needed for Tokyo - organisers

TOKYO (Reuters) - The Tokyo Paralympics may require specific COVID-19 measures to help keep athletes safe as they move between venues, organisers said on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: The Ariake Arena is lit up with the Olympic symbol colors on the day marking the one-year countdown to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games that have been postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Tokyo, Japan July 23, 2020. REUTERS/Issei Kato

The 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics have been pushed back to next year because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Paralympics organisers said on Monday the schedule would remain largely the same for next year. The opening ceremony will take place on Aug. 24 and the Games will feature 539 events at 22 different venues.

Games Director Hidemasa Nakamura said additional measures against the virus may be needed during the Paralympics because of the extra time required to move para-athletes between venues.

“There might be some specific measures that are needed depending on what type of sport or competition it is,” he said.

“We are having discussions with IFs (International Federations) and the IPC (International Paralympic Committee) and others to provide a safe and secure environment.”

Nakamura added changes to the schedule may be necessary.

Japanese para-taekwondo athlete Mitsuya Tanaka, who joined the news conference remotely, hoped the Games could be a chance to show the world that coronavirus can be defeated.

“I think showing ourselves making the effort and taking on the challenge with courage, this is something we can contribute to the world,” said Tanaka.

“Once COVID-19 settles, it will be a good opportunity for us to show we have won over COVID-19. This is something I can show as a para-athlete.”

Editing by Peter Rutherford

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