The Tokyo Olympic Games will start on 23 July, 2021 and run to 8 August after being postponed for a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) executive board after a meeting on Monday the Paralympic Games, originally due to start on 24 August, 2020, will now take place between 24 August and 5 September, 2021.

IOC president THOMAS BACH said: “I am confident that, working together with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Japanese Government and all our stakeholders, we can master this unprecedented challenge.

“Humankind currently finds itself in a dark tunnel. These Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 can be a light at the end of this tunnel.”

International Paralympic Committee president ANDREW PARSONS added: “When the Paralympic Games do take place in Tokyo next year, they will be an extra-special display of humanity uniting as one, a global celebration of human resilience and a sensational showcase of sport.

“With the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games 512 days away, the priority for all those involved in the Paralympic movement must be to focus on staying safe with their friends and family during this unprecedented and difficult time.”

The Olympics will still be called Tokyo 2020 despite taking place in 2021.

The decision to postpone both events was taken to protect the health of the athletes and everyone involved, and to support the containment of the Covid-19 virus.

It is the first time in the Olympic Games’ 124-year modern history that they have been delayed, though they were cancelled altogether in 1916 because of World War One and again in 1940 and 1944 for World War Two.

Cold War boycotts affected the summer Games in Moscow and Los Angeles in 1980 and 1984 respectively.

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