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International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach. (File Photo: IANS) by .
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach. (File Photo: IANS)

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach said that former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was crucial in making the organising committee for the Tokyo Olympics “the best prepared ever.” Abe on Friday announced his resignation as the Japanese Head of Government for health reasons.

“I would like to thank Prime Minister Abe for his great leadership in getting the Olympic Games back to Japan after the Olympic Games Tokyo 1964, and in overseeing and supporting the overall preparation of these Olympic Games Tokyo 2020,” said Bach in a statement.

“His engagement was crucial to making the Tokyo Organising Committee the best prepared ever. Throughout these years, Prime Minister Abe was a strong partner who always stood up for the interests of Japan, and who at the same time could always be trusted.

“In this way, we were able to find solutions, even in the most difficult circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, which allow his vision for Japan to still come true, even if with one year’s delay.”

The 65-year-old Abe has been battling ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease, for many years and he said that his condition has worsened recently. In September 2013, Abe had intervened in Tokyo’s bid to secure the 2020 Olympics by giving a speech in English at the IOC session in Buenos Aires.

In March this year, the organising committee, Bach and Abe agreed to postpone the Games by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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