(Team Canada/Olympic.ca)

On Sunday, Canada became the first country to announce they would not be sending athletes to compete in the upcoming 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo due to COVID-19 risks.

The Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee urgently called on the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee, along with the World Health Organization to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games until 2021.

“While we recognize the inherent complexities around a postponement, nothing is more important than the health and safety of our athletes and the world community,” the Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee said in a joint statement Sunday evening.

“This is not solely about athlete health — it is about public health.”

Triathlon Canada, Rowing Canada, Surfing Canada and Rugby Canada are a part of the ten national sport federations with head offices and national training centres on Vancouver Island.

On Sunday, the IOC said it will have an announcement about the status of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games within four weeks. They stated the Games would not be cancelled, but warned a postponement is possible.

The Canadian Olympic Committee say they remin hopeful that the IOC and IPC will agree with the decision to postpone the Games – as a part of a collective responsibility to protec communities and work to contain the spread of the virus.

Shortly after Canada’s announcement, Australia also announced it would not be sending athletes because of the risks associated with the coronavirus outbreak.

The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to start July 24th – with the Paralympics slated to follow on August 25th.