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Tokyo Olympics chiefs hint at toned down event

The 2020 Olympics were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The 2020 Olympics were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. AFP/File

Organisers of next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo have conceded the event may have to be scaled back to take into account the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic

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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced in March that the event would be delayed as the death toll from the disease started to spiral.

It was rescheduled to start on 23 July 2021 and to run until 8 August.

Even though countries are easing their lockdowns, infections and the death toll continue to rise. 

Japanese media reported on Thursday that organisers are considering a reduction in the number of spectators at the opening and closing ceremonies. Fewer fans would also be allowed to watch competitions taking place indoors.

Yuriko Koike, Tokyo’s governor, said organisers were weighing up their options.

“Holding the Olympic and Paralympic Games calls for sympathy and understanding of Tokyoites and the Japanese people,” Koike said. “For that, we need to rationalise what needs to be rationalised and simplify what needs to be simplified.”

Last resort

IOC chief, Thomas Bach, said in May that 2021 was the last option for holding the Tokyo Games. He said he was not keen to hold the event behind closed doors. Bach, though, initially said he was reluctant to consider a postponement. 

The 2020 Olympics were the first to be postponed since the inception of the games in 1896. They were not held in 1916, 1940 and 1944 because of the first and second world wars.

The Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, has said it would be difficult to hold the postponed Tokyo Olympics if the coronavirus pandemic is not contained.

And Tokyo 2020 president, Yoshiro Mori, has said the Olympics would have to be cancelled if the coronavirus pandemic is not brought under control by next year.

 

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