The Olympic Federation of Ireland has endorsed the decision to postpone the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games until 2021, following an official announcement by the International Olympic Committee and organisers in Japan.

A joint statement from the IOC and the Tokyo 2020 organising committee confirmed the news due to the threat posed by the coronavirus, following a conference call on Tuesday.

The focus for Team Ireland now will be on protecting and safeguarding the Irish athletes over the coming months and ensuring that they can bounce back to full training and be in peak condition for a successful Games in 2021. 

Olympic Federation of Ireland CEO Peter Sherrard acknowledged the complexities involved in postponing the Games, but said: "This is the right call given the times that we are in. 

"Nonetheless, we recognise it was a difficult call for Japan to make, and we are looking forward to working with the IOC and countries all over the world to make Tokyo 2021 a poignant moment for the whole world once these difficult times are over." 

Tokyo Chef de Mission Tricia Heberle added: "This decision, while totally appropriate, will impact on sport and our athletes in different ways, there will be mixed emotions. 

"Our focus is to continue to engage with and support our sports as we gather as much information to determine how this will impact on both athletes who have already qualified, and those who are on the path to qualification."

Paralympics Ireland chief executive Miriam Malone said: "This was an unprecedented situation for the organisers of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic and Olympic Games to face and postponement is the only safe option to protect athletes and supporters alike.

"Our guiding principle has always been the protection of our Irish athletes, their health and their safety and I believe that this decision safeguards our athletes in line with this principle.

"We are already rolling out our contingency plans for athletes and we will do everything in our power to ensure that our Irish athletes will be able to adapt as seamlessly as possible to the new arrangements when they are confirmed."