Riyadh [Saudi Arabia], November 23 (ANI): Amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, the world's leaders on Sunday voiced their support for the postponed Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 at the virtual G20 Leaders' Summit.
The final declaration of the Summit said: "As a symbol of humanity's resilience and global unity in overcoming COVID-19, we commend Japan's determination to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 next year. We look forward to the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022."
Highlighting the importance of sport in everyone's life, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach said: "Sport can save lives. During this coronavirus crisis, we all have seen how important sport is for physical and mental health."
"The World Health Organisation (WHO) has acknowledged this by signing a cooperation agreement with the IOC. Following this agreement, the UN, the WHO and the IOC launched a co-branded campaign called 'Healthy Together', rolling out projects internationally. Furthermore, we are preparing to contribute to a worldwide pro-vaccination campaign," he added.
Bach further stressed the importance of solidarity in the post-coronavirus world: "We have learned one important lesson from this crisis: we need more solidarity. More solidarity within societies and more solidarity among societies.
"We will soon celebrate this demonstration of solidarity at the postponed Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. These Olympic Games, with the participation of all 206 National Olympic Committees and the IOC Refugee Olympic Team, will send a strong message of solidarity, resilience and unity of humankind in all our diversity. In this context, I am very grateful to Prime Minister Suga for sharing our determination," he said.
The IOC President asked the G20 participants to support the political neutrality of the Olympic Games, and the IOC
"Therefore, I humbly appeal to you to support our political neutrality, allowing us to make the Olympic and Paralympic Games this great symbol of global solidarity without any discrimination," Bach said in an official statement.
Support for the IOC and the Olympic Games was also expressed by Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO.
"Finally, I would like to welcome Prime Minister Suga, and assure him that WHO is working with the International Olympic Committee to make next year's Tokyo Olympics a success, and a symbol of hope for the world," he said.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year. The mega event will now be held from July 23 to August 8, 2021. And the Paralympics will take place from August 24 to September 5, 2021. (ANI)