Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka has backed Japan's decision to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Games to 2021.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected sporting events around the globe, besides claiming more than 24,000 lives.
The Games were scheduled for July 24-August 9, but after telephone discussions between IOC president Thomas Bach and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a historic joint decision was taken for the postponement of an Olympics in peacetime.
Osaka, who was likely to be one of the faces of the event, weighed in on the decision, saying that the focus now is on saving lives.
"I've been thinking about how to articulate my thoughts on this for a couple of days now, so here goes. Everyone knows how much the Olympics means to me and how proud I will be to participate in my home country. We will all be ready to go stronger than ever in 2021! I support Prime Minister Abe's brave decision and the IOC 100%."
Osaka said that the people of Japan should say strong and hang in there.
"To me, that is the Olympic spirit. To the people of Japan: stay strong, hang in there, and let's show the world our beautiful country when the time is right in 2021. Stay safe everyone, take care of each other, be kind and we will make it through."
"Sport will eventually unite us again and be there for us always, but that time is not now. This is the time for people from all countries, backgrounds and races to rally together to save as many lives as we can," added Osaka.
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