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Coronavirus: Naomi Osaka backs 'brave decision' to postpone Olympics
Japan's Naomi Osaka
by Ben Spratt
28 Mar 2020, 18:06

Naomi Osaka has given her "100 per cent" backing to the postponement of Tokyo 2020 and says the "Olympic spirit" is needed to combat coronavirus.

The upcoming Olympic Games were pushed back from 2020 to 2021 amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has resulted in close to 30,000 deaths worldwide, with more than 645,000 confirmed cases.

The decision was widely welcomed earlier this week, and tennis star Osaka is also on board, even if it means a delay to her hopes of turning out at a home Olympics.

The Japanese two-time grand slam champion wrote on her Instagram page: "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.

"Of course, I am disappointed that it won't happen this year, but we'll all be ready to go stronger than ever in 2021!

"I support prime minister [Shinzo] Abe's brave decision and the IOC [International Olympic Committee] 100 per cent. 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. 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."