The Cook Islands Sports and National Olympic Committee has earned praise from Thomas Bach ©Getty Images

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has sent a video message to the Cook Islands Sports and National Olympic Committee (CISNOC), congratulating it on staging this year's Cook Islands Games and crediting the event with offering confidence Tokyo 2020 can go ahead next year.

The 2020 Cook Islands Games are scheduled to run from October 3 to 17 on the island of Rarotonga.

Bach acknowledges that the multi-sport competition - the first major sports event held in the nation since the coronavirus pandemic hit - is "taking place at an important time" in his message.

"My heartfelt congratulations go to the organisers for putting together these Games in record time and for giving the athletes a stage to shine," the IOC President says in the message.

"These Games also reflect the import role sport plays in communities across the Cook Islands.

"Perhaps because of the global pandemic we see the contribution of sport to society clearer than ever."

Sport, Bach goes on to highlight, has physical and mental health benefits and can act as a "glue" to connect society.

The IOC President thanked his CISNOC counterpart Hugh Graham and colleagues for promoting sport's benefits.

Twenty-one sports are due to feature at the Games.

Everyone who is a Cook Islands Maori and who has blood ties to one of the islands is eligible to compete at the event.

"With these Games, you're also demonstrating that sport can be organised safely even under then ongoing health restrictions," Bach added.

"This is a very important signal for the entire world of sport, giving us confidence in our preparations for the postponed Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

"Thank you for showing the world that you do not need to be a big country to be a great sporting nation."

Tokyo 2020, postponed because of the pandemic, is due to begin on July 23 next year.