Olympics and the FIFA World Cup are the grandest stages of them all. Countries worldwide try and compete in over 100 events, and have to get through so many qualification rounds, and the knockout stages to make their country proud on the world stage. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Tokyo Olympics has been postponed by a year, and it has been decided that it will take place this year in July. For the FIFA World Cup, Covid still hasn’t affected them since it starts next year in November.
Countries hope to get a good run at the World Cup, or get a gold or silver medal at the Olympics, but North Korea has withdrawn its name from the FIFA World Cup qualifiers and the Tokyo Olympics. This comes after North Korea decided that the safety protocols for these mega sporting events are not adequate, and will not risk sending their athletes and players for a tournament with such a high risk of Covid-19. North Korea took this decision after learning about a particular sporting incident that took place in Japan itself. An Olympic preparatory event was cancelled due to Covid-19 spread in the training camp. Adding fire to the fuel was that Japan was hitting its record highest cases during these times. This led North Korea to press the panic button on both the marquee events of the sporting world in the next couple of years.
North Korea has been a great sporting nation, earning medals in most of the main events. It has provided some extreme competition to countries like the United States of America, Russia, China, and Japan. This year’s Olympics might be a lot different since no crowds will support their nation during matches. As for the FIFA World Cup, no news regarding the crowds has been mentioned until now.
The announcement makes North Korea the first significant country to skip the delayed 2020 Games because of the pandemic. The event is due to begin on July 23. This will be the first time North Korea has missed a Summer Olympics since 1988 when it boycotted the Seoul Games during the Cold War.