DORSET-BASED Team GB sailors have been hit by the postponement of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The International Olympic Committee expects the Games, initially scheduled for July 24, to take place "no later than summer 2021."

Team GB had been set to take 15 sailors to the Games, for which Enoshima will host the sailing events.

Reigning Olympic champions Giles Scott and Poole's Hannah Mills, formerly based on Portland, are set to defend their respective Finn and 470 Women titles.

Stuart Bithell and Dylan Fletcher, both of Portland, have qualified for the 49er class.

Women's RS:X windsurfer Emma Wilson, of Christchurch, is also set to compete.

In a joint statement this afternoon, the organisers of Tokyo 2020 and the IOC said: "The unprecedented and unpredictable spread of the outbreak has seen the situation in the rest of the world deteriorating.

"On Monday, the director general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that the COVID-19 pandemic is 'accelerating'.

"In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the IOC president and the prime minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community."

British Olympic Assdociation head Andy Anson, said: "It is with profound sadness that we accept the postponement, but in all consciousness it is the only decision we can support, in light of the devastating impact COVID-19 is having on our nation, our communities and our families.

"It would have been unthinkable for us to continue to prepare for an Olympic Games at a time the nation and the world no less is enduring great hardship.

"A postponement is the right decision."