Tokyo Olympics: NZ Olympic Committee welcomes new Games dates

NZ Olympics committee chief executive Kereyn Smith believes confirmation of the new Tokyo Olympic dates will provide much-needed peace of mind for athletes.

On Tuesday morning (NZ time), the International Olympic Committee announced that the Games would take place on July 23-August 8 2021, after the coronavirus pandemic forced an unprecedented postponement.

"Our athletes have consistently told us they are able and willing to adapt, but certainty is key, said Smith. "Now they have this."

The dates are precisely one year removed from those originally scheduled, but the Games will still be referred to as 'Tokyo 2020'.

Reactions from a range of Kiwi competitors have been unanimously positive and many - such as pole vaulter Eliza McCartney - welcomed the additional year of recovery and preparation.

Rower Emma Twigg was relieved to have a new target to readjust her training regime towards.

"Not having a date is hard, because everything feels a little bit on standstill," Twigg told Newshub.  

"Whereas now, you can see the bigger picture… we can get our head around it to start planning and start creating a bigger view on what this Olympic cycle is."

Smith added the NZOC's next step would be to recommence NZ team selections, but the rest of the processes would remain in place for next year.

"The next step is for the qualification event schedule to be confirmed and for us to be able to recommence New Zealand team selections - growing from a current 12 athletes to an overall team size of more than 200.

"The work the NZOC and High Performance Sport NZ has put into heat management strategies will still be critical to the success of our athletes, and the strategies behind operational and performance delivery will essentially remain unchanged.

"The culture and values of the New Zealand team will give us the performance edge, as we reset and refocus for July 23, 2021."