North Korea drops out of Tokyo Olympics

North Korea has bowed out of the Tokyo Olympic Games in order to protect its athletes against Covid-19.

Olympics logo
North Korea has not officially informed the International Olympic Committee of its decision not to participate in the Tokyo Olympic Games. Picture: Pixabay

CAPE TOWN, April 7 (ANA) – North Korea has become the first country to bow out of the Tokyo Olympic Games following a decision made by its Olympic Committee Main Body to protect its athletes from Covid-19.

According to NBC News, the decision was made during a general assembly held on March 25, with the decision announced on Monday in a statement on the Sports Ministry’s website.

“It was decided not to participate in the first session on the proposal of the members of the Olympic Committee of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” read the statement.

“The (decision not to participate in the) 32nd Olympic Games is to protect our athletes from the global public health crises caused by the vicious virus infectious disease,” it said.

The Games are scheduled to start on July 23, and according to Channel NewsAsia (CNA), a Singapore-based broadcaster, North Korea has not officially informed the International Olympic Committee.

“I’m aware of the report and the matter is primarily supposed to be sorted out among (North Korea) and the Japanese Olympic Committee and the organising committee,” Chief Cabinet Secretary of Japan Katsunobu Kato said during a press conference.

“We will continue to watch the development,” he said.

On Tuesday, Tokyo Olympic organisers postponed a two-day water polo test event due to virus restrictions for all foreign nationals who needed to travel into the country. The event, which was scheduled for Saturday, will now take place in May or June.

Meanwhile, in preparation for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, China’s National Aquatics Center, “Ice Cube”, held its first ice sports event to determine the readiness of the Covid-19 testing programme.

State broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) reported that the curling events which started last Thursday and are set to run until April 10 mark the first all-factor stress test, which includes spectators, to ensure all epidemic preventive measures are carried out.

– African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Yaron Blecher

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