Following media reports during this week with speculation that the Tokyo Olympic would be cancelled with the continued threat of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the latest news of a new strain by doctors, president Thomas Bach of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and local organisers are pushing back against those reports.
Now set to open July 23 after it was postponed from last July, at the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and now the event appears threatened again.
It was reported recently in the Times of London, citing unidentified government sources, that the Games will have to be cancelled. It quoted an unidentified senior member of the ruling government coalition.
“No one wants to be the first to say so, but the consensus is that it’s too difficult,” the person said. “Personally, I don’t think it’s going to happen.”
However, in a statement on Friday, the local organising committee did not address directly The Times story but said the Olympics were going forward and had the support of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.
“All our delivery partners including the national government, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the IOC, and the IPC (International Paralympic Committee) are fully focused on hosting the games this summer,” the statement said.
Brian Lewis, president of the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC), said in an immediate response to the speculation that: "T&T Olympic Committee is confident that the IOC and Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee are doing everything possible to ensure a safe and secure Olympic Games. The TTOC and Team TTO athletes remain committed to preparing and qualifying for Tokyo 2020."
He added that: "The TTOC appreciates that it is an extraordinarily difficult time in the history of the Olympic Games and will support the IOC with the necessary and difficult decisions that will have to be made to ensure a safe and secure Games. It may very well be that Tokyo 2020 will have to be a closed-door Games."
"The TTOC will support and select a Team TTO team to attend the Games in the coming weeks. The IOC and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee will provide National Olympic Committees with specific details in respect of the countermeasures that will be put in place to facilitate a safe and secure Games."
With regards to the news that the IOC is working with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to get all athletes vaccinated in a bid to save the Tokyo Games, and that the fast-tracking the COVID-19 vaccines to competitors where national programmes, Lewis said: "The TTOC will work closely with the Ministry of Sport and Community Development and other Government and Public Health authorities on the question of vaccination should it become a requirement for the T&T Olympic team."
Lewis continued: "The TTOC appreciates that it is an extraordinarily difficult time in the history of the Olympic Games and will support the IOC in its necessary and difficult decisions that will have to be made to ensure a safe and secure Games."
Lewis, who will be leading a team of walkers and runners Sunday in a fundraising project to assist local athletes in the T&T International Marathon virtual event added: "In the coming weeks, the IOC and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee will provide National Olympic Committees with specific details in respect of the countermeasures that will be put in place to facilitate a safe and secure Games."
LEAD EDITOR- SPORTS