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HomeSportTokyo Olympics '100%' going ahead, says the Games president

Tokyo Olympics ‘100%’ going ahead, says the Games president

The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games were postponed by one year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic

The president of Tokyo 2020, Seiko Hashimoto, is “100%” certain that the Olympics will go ahead, but has warned that the Games “must be prepared” in order to proceed without spectators in the event of an outbreak of COVID-19.

There are 50 days until the delayed Olympic Games are set to begin on the 23rd of July.

Japan is currently dealing with its fourth wave of coronavirus infections, with 10 areas of the country under a state of emergency.

Hashimoto told BBC Sport: “I believe that the possibility of these Games going on is 100% that we will do this.”

Speaking to BBC Sport’s Laura Scott, she added: “The question right now is how are we going to have an even more safe and secure Games.

“The Japanese people are feeling very insecure and at the same time probably feel some frustration at us talking about the Olympics and I think that is giving rise to more voices opposing having the Games in Tokyo.

This comes after a doctors group has said that hospitals in the country’s capital of Tokyo are already currently overwhelmed and ‘have almost no spare capacity’. People took part in protesting against the hosting of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games in Tokyo on May the 17th.

“The biggest challenge will be how we can control and manage the flow of people. If an outbreak should happen during the Games times that amounts to a crisis or an emergency situation then I believe we must be prepared to have these Games without any spectators.

“We are trying to create as complete a bubble situation as possible so we can create a safe and secure space for people who come in from overseas as well as people who are in Japan, the residents and citizens of Japan.”

No international fans will be permitted this summer at the Olympics or Paralympics, which begin on the 24th of August.

A new wave of coronavirus infections began in April within Japan, where some areas face restrictions until the 20th of June.

Japan began vaccinating the country’s population in February, later than most other developed nations, and so far, only around 3% of people in the nation have been fully vaccinated.

Hashimoto said it was a “very painful decision” to have no overseas spectators present, but one necessary to ensure “a safe and secure Games”.

“[For many] athletes it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they can compete in the Games. To not be able to have family members and friends who have supported them all along must be a very painful thing and that has caused me pain too,” she said.

On the possibility of some countries being prevented from travelling, Hashimoto added: “Who can come to Japan is something the Japanese government will decide.

“If it should happen that a country cannot come to Japan because they do not meet the minimum requirements that the government set, I think that is something we have to listen to what the IOC and IPC feel about that.”

Hashimoto had been appointed the Games president back in February after her predecessor Yoshiro Mori was forced to quit following sexist comments that he made.

This comes after the Japanese Prime Minister, said on Monday that he has never “put the Olympics first”, on the same day that an opinion poll has shown that nearly 60% of people within Japan want the Olympic Games to be cancelled less than three months before they are due to begin.

The former Olympics minister is herself a seven-time Olympian, having competed as both a cyclist, as well as a speed skater.

“Athletes must be thinking ‘even if it we put so much effort into preparing for the Games, what if those Games don’t happen, what happens to all that effort and all the lifetime experience and all that we’ve put into it?’ said Hashimoto.

“What is important for me is to have my voice directly reach those athletes. One thing the organising committee commits and promises to all the athletes out there is that we will defend and protect their health.”

Former Olympic Games president Yoshiro Mori said that if the number of female members on the board had increased, then they would have to “make sure their speaking time is restricted somewhat, they have difficulty finishing, which is annoying”.

He later apologised for those “inappropriate” comments.

Following her appointment, Hashimoto said that she wanted the legacy of the Tokyo Olympic Games to be a for society that accepted people regardless of their gender, disability, race, or their sexual orientation.

Eve Cooper
Eve Cooper
I've been writing articles and stories for as long as I can remember and in the past few years I've had the fortune of turning that love & passion for writing into my job :)

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