The senior member of IOC, Dick Pound feels that the postponed Tokyo Olympics is not certain. The statement has come out after the host city of the Olympics, Tokyo announced a state of emergency due to the sudden rise of coronavirus cases.
While talking to BBC about the postponed Games that will open on 23rd July 2021, the Canadian IOC member said,” I can’t be certain because the ongoing elephant in the room would be the surges in the virus.”
This is the latest statement by any IOC member. The statements released by Organisers and IOC President, Thomas Bach a few days back stated that most of the members were positive on the 2021 Olympics start and also had agreed that delaying for a second time was not possible.
Coronavirus Cases Spike in Japan
The third wave of COVID 19 infection has struck Japan in the last few days. The Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Friday declared a month-long state of emergency in Tokyo and three neighboring cities. The measures were enforced after Tokyo announced a record 2447 cases on Thursday. This is a 50% rise from Wednesday and the overall number of infections across Japan rose above 7500. This is the record number of cases that Japan has ever recorded.
Compared to the world, Japan has been one of the better countries. This statement is supported by the stats – 3900 Covid 19 deaths in a country of 126 million. There are reports that the vaccination will begin in the upcoming few days.
Many experts suggest that the authorities have very little time to immunize a significant number of people before the Games open. The time left is less than six months and the major concern Japan faces is of visiting athletes, fans and officials which can spike up the infection rate in the country.
Moreover, the Japanese public is also against the scheduled games. The recent poll by NHK shows that 63% of people supported the postponement or cancellation of Tokyo Olympics 2021.
Dick Pound says he is not certain Tokyo Olympics Will Go Ahead
The 75-year-old Tatsuhiko Akamasu also feels that holding the 2021 Olympics is nearly impossible. During his visit to Tokyo, Akamasu said, ‘“I think it’s difficult … it’s impossible to hold the Olympics. It’s only two and a half months until the torch relay. I don’t think we can get the virus under control during this period.”
The 121-day torch relay which will see around 10,000 runners is scheduled to start in March 2021. The Tokyo organizing committee is expected to reveal its Covid-safe plans during that time.
Even though many authorities have raised their concern on Tokyo Games, the organizing committee’s president Yoshiro Mori feels that the Games will go ahead as per schedule. While talking to Sports Hochi newspaper, Mori said, “It will happen in July. Almost all of the Olympic preparations are in place.”
While speaking to Sky News, Dick Pound said, “Athletes are important role models, and by taking the vaccine they can send a powerful message that vaccination is not only about personal health, but also about solidarity and consideration for the wellbeing of others in their communities.