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The show will go on as Ontario Summer Games rescheduled for 2021

Lisa MacLeod, minister of heritage, sport, tourism and culture industries in London on July 31, 2020.
Lisa MacLeod, minister of heritage, sport, tourism and culture industries in London on July 31, 2020. Sawyer Bogdan / Global News

The Ontario government has announced a new date for the Ontario Summer Games in London, now set to start in summer 2021.

The games were initially scheduled to take place this summer, but due to the novel coronavirus have been rescheduled for July 29 to Aug. 1, 2021.

Despite the postponement, the Ontario government said it will continue to invest $1 million into the event.

“We have proven ourselves as a world-class host for numerous sporting events in recent years, including the 2018 Ontario Summer Games, and we will set the bar even higher next summer,” Mayor Ed Holder said.

“Sports have the power to inspire and to unite, and I absolutely cannot wait for the Ontario Summer Games to do both when they come to London in 2021.”

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The games are projected to generate an economic impact of $5 million, something desperately needed as most of the tourism and hospital sectors was forced to shut down.

“It’s more lost revenue than a lost expense, so the ability to come back in 2021 is really great for the community beyond just the sports,” said Dave De Kelver, general manager for the Ontario Summer Games in London.

Lisa MacLeod, minister of heritage, sport, tourism and culture, said it’s critical to continue to invest in sporting events and showcase homegrown athletes.

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“We want to make sure 2021 is a marquee year for the province as we eye economic recovery, however, we recognize that this is first and foremost a health crisis,” MacLeod said.

There are 20 sports and 19 sports organizations that participate in the games.

When asked if athletes who were set to compete this year but will no longer meet age requirement next year will be allowed to compete, De Kelver said he anticipates they will, but added that the decision will ultimately be up to the individual organizations.