IWAS reacts to the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games


IWAS President, Rudi van den Abbeele, made the following statement on Tuesday (24 March) in support of the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games to 2021.

“I wish I speaking to you today in more certain times. Just a few months ago we were starting 2020 with a full list of competitions for wheelchair fencing and powerchair hockey, and with an IWAS World Games and Paralympic Games ahead of us.

“Of course as well all know the coronavirus pandemic has caused the cancellation or postponement of many major sports events, including the entire IWAS calendar.

“And now we will no longer be heading to Tokyo in August for the Paralympic Games.

“This is an unprecedented moment in time. The Olympic and Paralympic Games have never before been postponed and have only been cancelled during wartime.

“The decision to delay the Games until 2021 however is one that has not been taken lightly and is welcomed by IWAS.

“It has been taken not only in the interests of the global community, to protect the vulnerable, but also to preserve the competitive integrity of the Paralympics. Over the last weeks we have seen the global sports calendar more or less completely destroyed, and many athletes cannot even leave their homes to train let alone prepare for the performance of their lives.

“This is the right thing to do.

“I thank the International Paralympic Committee for their support and advocacy for Para-athletes during this time.

“We will now be awaiting further guidance on what our next steps should be to prepare in the best way for the new arrangements, and will communicate with all our stakeholders when we know more.

“I would like to reassure all athletes and IWAS members that we will continue to work hard to ensure that the Paralympic Games in 2021 will be a tremendous success. I am confident that the Games will emerge like a phoenix from the flames and give the global community hope and inspiration once more.

“Thank you for your support and remember to stay safe.”