The Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka, the poster girl of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics stated on social media on Saturday that she supports the postponement of the Games until the summer of 2021.
Osaka, who had lifted the US Open trophy in 2018 and also the Australian Open in 2019 was the main and central character in the video for launching the Tokyo 2020 Olympics' official motto for the Games, which was launched last month.
Coronavirus has spread all over the world
The coronavirus has since spread across the world, however, leading to last week's decision by the Japanese government and International Olympic Committee to postpone the Games. "Everyone knows how much the Olympics means to me and how proud I will be to participate in my home country," Osaka, the world number 10, wrote on Twitter.
"Of course, I am disappointed that it won't happen this year but we'll all be ready to stronger ever in 2021! I support Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's brave decision and the IOC 100 percent. "Sport will eventually unite us again and be there for us always, but that time not now," the 22-year-old added. "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.
Osaka was born in Japan
"To the people of Japan: stay strong, hang in there, and let's the show the world our beautiful country when time is right in 2021." Osaka, the first Asian to be ranked world number one, concluded with a message for her 500,000 plus Twitter followers. "Stay safe everyone, take care of each other, be kind and we will make it through. Love, Naomi."
Osaka, who was born in Japan to a Haitian father and Japanese mother before being raised in the United States, was chosen to lead Tokyo 2020's "United by Emotion" motto as the face of a changing country. Japan, which has traditionally seen itself as a racially homogeneous country, is becoming more ethnically diverse and Osaka has been at the forefront of a new wave of sporting heroes set to represent the host nation at the Olympics. Coronavirus infections in Japan have climbed to more than 1,400, with 47 deaths.
(With agency inputs)