2021 is last chance to hold Tokyo Olympic Games, IOC chief
The head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, has warned that the Tokyo Games would need to be scrapped if the coronavirus pandemic made it impossible for them to take place next year.
The IOC and therefore the Tokyo Olympic organising committee announced in March that the Games, which were thanks to open this July, would need to be postponed by a year due to the global spread of the virus. Bach told the BBC on Thursday he agreed with Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, who said last month that holding the Games would be “difficult” unless the pandemic was contained before they’re thanks to beginning on July 23 next year.
Bach said Abe had made it clear to him that, as far as Japan was concerned, next year was “the last option”. “Quite frankly, I even have some understanding for this, because you can’t forever employ 3,000 or 5,000 people in an organising committee,” Bach said.
“You can’t per annum change the whole sports schedule worldwide of all the main federations. You can’t have the athletes being in uncertainty.” Bach added, however, that the IOC was committed to holding the Olympic Games within the Tokyo next year, albeit the outbreak could force organisers to require precautions, including quarantining athletes.
“What could this mean for the life in an Olympic village?” he said. “All these different scenarios are into account, and this is often why I’m saying it’s a mammoth task because there are numerous different options that it’s tough to address them [now].
“When we’ve a transparent view on how the planet will look on July 23, 2021, then [we will] take the acceptable decisions.” The director-general of the planet Health Organisation (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, conceded at the weekend that it might “not be easy” for 11,000 athletes from quite 200 teams to compete safely in Tokyo.
“We hope Tokyo is going to be an area where humanity will gather with a triumph against COVID,” Tedros said at a press conference in Geneva on Saturday. “It is in our hands, but it’s tough.
If we do our most excellent, especially with national unity and global solidarity, I feel it’s possible.” With quite 17,100 cases and 797 deaths, Japan has avoided the massive coronavirus toll seen in other countries, but plans to host the Games in only over a year might be frustrated by more worrying outbreaks in other parts of the planet.
The WHO warned on Thursday that the pandemic was faraway from over after 106,000 new cases were recorded worldwide within the previous 24 hours – the foremost during a single day so far.