Will the Games go ahead?
With barely six months until the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are set to begin, there are conflicting opinions on whether they will take place, currently rescheduled for July 23rd (Paralympics August 24).
Tokyo and 10 of Japan’s prefectures are currently in a state of emergency due to COVID-19 , with restaurants and bars forced to close from 8pm, while foreign visitors are also banned from entering the country.
“We need to do the best we can to prepare for the Games at this moment, but it could go either way,” Japan’s administrative and regulatory reform minister, Taro Kono, said in an interview on Thursday.
“Anything is possible, but as the host of the Games we need to do whatever we can, so that when it’s a Go, we can have a good Olympic Games. The Olympic Committee must be thinking about Plan B, Plan C. But the situation is not easy.”
Dick Pound, a senior member of the IOC has also said,”I can’t be certain because the ongoing elephant in the room would be the surges in the virus. I would give it 3-to-1 odds of going ahead on the basis of what we know today.”
But Tokyo 2020 spokesperson Masa Takaya told Sky Sports News on Wednesday, “To be very clear, we have never discussed another postponement of the Games. We have 100% concentration and focus on the delivery of a safe and secure Games this summer.
“The COVID situation is of course still an ongoing issue for everyone in the world but we will deliver the Games this year, starting July 23.”
Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee Director General/CEO Muto Toshiro also said, “In order for the Tokyo 2020 Games to take place, garnering the understanding of the nation is essential. Rather than wonder what will become of the Games amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, I believe our mission is to consider what needs to be done in order to deliver the Games in this situation. There is still a lot more to be done, but let us join our efforts to hold a successful Games.”