Tokyo 2020 will keep the same name despite being moved to 2021 ©Getty Images

New Tokyo 2020 dates announced yesterday have been endorsed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athletes' Commission.

The IOC Athletes' Commission "welcomes and supports" the new schedule, while the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) Athletes' Commission has "offered its full support" and the European Olympic Committees (EOC) Athletes' Commission likewise "fully supports" the announcement.

Pushed back to 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic making an event this summer infeasible, the Olympic Games will take place from July 23 to August 8 and the Paralympic Games will follow from August 24 to September 5.

In a statement, the IOC Athletes' Commission said it had listened to feedback from athletes, expressed those views to the IOC and "been part of the decision-making at the highest level".

Knowing the new schedule should make athletes' planning easier - although many are unable to train at present due to Government restrictions on movement and group gatherings in place to try and curb the spread of coronavirus.

There have been more than 41,000 COVID-19 deaths across the globe.

"We believe the confirmation of the new dates will give you much-needed certainty and allow you to focus on your health and safety, as well as the health of the wider community", the IOC Athletes' Commission told Olympic hopefuls.

"Additionally, having the Games in the summer period maximises the opportunity for all athletes, regardless of their country, to have the best possible preparation ahead of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020."

The Commission also welcomed confirmation that anyone who had already qualified for Tokyo 2020 would keep their place, that measures planned to protect athletes from the heat in 2020 would be replicated in 2021 and that Olympic Solidarity programmes related to the Games would be extended into 2021.

"We also want to thank the International Federations for their flexibility and support, along with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and the Japanese Government for making the new dates possible", the Commission added.

Athletes have welcomed confirmation of the new Tokyo 2020 dates ©Getty Images
Athletes have welcomed confirmation of the new Tokyo 2020 dates ©Getty Images

"We know so many of you are facing an incredibly challenging time, both with your personal and sporting lives. 

"We believe that, when we all come together in 2021, it will be an extra-special celebration of sport and humanity uniting after such a difficult time for all."

Dozens of sports are now in the process of reshuffling their calendar to accommodate the Olympics, with the World Athletics Championships one high-profile event moved from 2021 to 2022.

Karo Lelai, who chairs the ANOC Athletes' Commission, said the group was "grateful for the speed with which this decision has been taken" and recognised how complex rescheduling the Games was.

"The uncertainty around Tokyo 2020 was a source of great anxiety for many athletes and with the confirmation of these dates, athletes can dedicate their full attention to what is most important - protecting their health and those around them.

"By postponing the Games to July 2021, the IOC and Tokyo 2020 has helped to safeguard the health of the athletes while also allowing them a fair and equal chance to train, prepare, and where necessary, qualify."

Lelai said the ANOC Athletes' Commission would continue to work with its IOC equivalent to support athletes as they deal with the pandemic and has "no doubt that Tokyo 2020 will be an outstanding Olympic Games and a true celebration of humanity".

The EOC Athletes' Commission echoed those sentiments, telling athletes: "We will continue to fight for your rights and opportunities and ensure that you continue to receive the support you need and deserve during these unprecedented times. 

"It is in these moments that the voice of the athletes must be heard louder than ever, and we strongly encourage each of you to connect with us and share your experiences, concerns and questions, as we walk along the same path together."