The Indian Olympic Association on Monday asked all the National Sports Federations to chalk out training programmes to prepare their athletes for the Tokyo Games, postponed to next summer due to the Covid-19 pandemic, reported PTI.

The Tokyo Olympics will begin on July 23 next year, organisers said on Monday, after the global health crisis forced the unprecedented decision to postpone the Games until 2021.

“All Olympic sports NSFs are requested to please start their draft planning structure for preparation for Tokyo 2021 and for Paris 2024,” IOA president Narinder Batra said in a release.

The Tokyo Olympics were due to start on July 24 this year but the coronavirus outbreak forced the first peacetime postponement of the Games.

This was after weeks of insistence on the part of both International Olympic Committee and the local organising body that the Games would go on as scheduled despite opposition from top athletes and influential sports bodies.

Soon after the new dates were announced, IOA secretary general Rajeev Mehta said, “Indian Olympic Association along with the National Sports Federations welcome and support the new dates for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, which will be held from 23 July to 8 August, 2021.”

Two days ago, the IOA chief had asked the NSFs to share the calendar of their athletes’ preparations for the Games.

Batra is an IOC member as well as the president of International Hockey Federation (FIH).

“On behalf of FIH I would like to thank the International Olympic Committee, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Government of Japan and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government for having confirmed the new dates of next year’s Olympics so swiftly,” he said.

“The international hockey community fully supports this decision. Athletes and coaches can now plan their preparations in full knowledge of the new schedule, which is very helpful.”

Nearly 80 Indian athletes have so far qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in seven sports athletics, archery, boxing, equestrian, hockey, shooting and wrestling. It remains to be seen what the plans are for the remaining quota places at the postponed event.

(With PTI inputs)