Norza: Tokyo Olympics will go on as scheduled

Tan Sri Norza Zakaria

PETALING JAYA: The Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria has reassured athletes that the Tokyo Olympics will proceed as scheduled.

Norza was given the assurance that the Games will take place under strict safety and health protocols during a conference call with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach and the Japan Olympic Committee (JOC) president Yamashita Yasuhiro.

“OCM are confident that the Tokyo Olympic Games will be held as from July 23-Aug 8 this year.

“During the call, the readiness and the meticulous preparations undertaken by the Japanese government were conveyed to us.

“Along with other key delivery partners, it is ensured that it will be a safe and secure games, not only for athletes and officials but also the local community.

“We stand in solidarity with the IOC and our Japanese counterpart and look forward to participating.

“In addition to the comprehensive counter-measures that will be in place for the Games, we are also in discussion with the IOC in regards to the vaccination of our contingent to the Games.

“We would like to thank the IOC for their willingness to support the OCM in our engagement with the Malaysian government pertaining to the vaccination for our contingent.

“Locally, we will continue our discussions with the Health Ministry, the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry, the National Sports Council and the National Sports Institute to ensure our athletes and officials will be able to focus on their training and preparation in the safest environment, ” said Norza in a statement.

There have been reports coming out from Tokyo quoting a senior member of the ruling coalition that the government had privately concluded that the Games would be cancelled.

The focus for the government was to hold the Games for Tokyo in the next available slot in 2032.

Paris will stage the Games in 2024 while Los Angeles will host it in 2028.

Much of Japan, including Tokyo, is under a state of emergency due to a third wave of Covid-19 infections.

To date, a total of 12 athletes have made the cut for the Games and the number will increase when other sports conclude their qualification process over the coming months.

Those who have qualified are Leong Mun Yee, Pandelela Rinong, Nur Dhabitah Sabri and Wendy Ng Yan Yee (diving); Azizulhasni Awang and Mohd Shah Firdaus Sahrom (track cycling); Khairulnizam Afendy, Shazrin Abdul Latif, Nuraisyah Jamil and Juni Noor Jamali (sailing); Farah Ann Abdul Hadi (artistic gymnastics) and Khairul Anuar Mohamed (archery).

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