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Russian tennis chief says Olympics’ one-year delay may have negative impact on athletes

In particular, "no one is having normal training sessions," he recalled

MOSCOW, April 1. /TASS, Andrey Kartashov/. A one-year postponement of the Summer Olympic Games in Japan was the right decision to make, but it will have a negative impact on athletes, President of the Russian Tennis Federation (RTF) Shamil Tarpishchev told TASS on Wednesday.

"There were no other options but to postpone the Olympics for one year," Tarpishchev said. "This is an understandable and correct decision."

"However, the postponement is, first of all, very inconvenient for athletes," he continued. "No one is having normal training sessions, many questions arise in regard to the season, the tennis calendar has 36 weeks of tournaments, the Olympic qualifications are based on the ratings and so on. There are a lot of questions and difficulties at the moment."

Yoshiro Mori, the head of the Tokyo-2020 Olympics Local Organizing Committee, announced on Monday that the Summer Olympic Games in Japan next year will start on July 23 and the Summer Paralympic Games will begin on August 24. The agreement on the new dates have been reached after a telephone conversation of Mori with President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach earlier that day. The new timeframe was backed by the IOC, the Tokyo-2020 Olympics Local Organizing Committee, the municipal authorities of Tokyo and the government of Japan.

The agreed new dates are July 23 - August 8, 2021 for the Summer Olympic Games; and August 24 - September 5, 2021 for the Summer Paralympic Games.

The IOC and IPC (the International Paralympic Committee) announced their decision on March 24 to postpone for one year the tournaments in Japan due to the continuous COVID-19 spread. The 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo were initially scheduled to be held between July 24 and August 9, and the 2020 Summer Paralympic Games were planned to be organized between August 25 and September 6.

In late December 2019, Chinese authorities notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus - named COVID-19 by the WHO - have been reported in every corner of the globe, including Russia.

On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. To date, more than 875,440 people have been infected worldwide and over 43,450 deaths have been reported.

So far, a total of 2,777 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 190 patients having recovered from the illness. The country’s latest data indicates 24 fatalities nationwide. Earlier, the Russian government set up an Internet hotline to keep the public informed about the coronavirus situation.