Clueless Olympics-bound athletes look toward Japan for answers


SOME sports organisations have done well to run their events in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Formula 1 and NBA for instance, have created their own ‘bubble’ system in order for them to conclude their championships battle. Football, golf and badminton have also returned to action under stringent rules and without spectators.

But can the hosts of the Olympic Games pull it off?

It’s going to be a massive logistical challenge for Tokyo to get the Olympics running as the Covid-19 pandemic is showing no signs of abating.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach has thrown his support to the organisers by giving his assurance that the event will go ahead as scheduled from July 23-Aug 8.

“Our task is to organise the Olympic Games and not to cancel it, ” he said, adding that the IOC are working “day and night” with the hosts to create a safe event.

The biggest sporting show on earth has been delayed by one year and another postponement is out of the question.

The show either goes on or it’s goodbye Tokyo.

With less than six months to go, all eyes will be on the organisers as they try their best to determine how Tokyo can hold the Games safely from the scourge of a disease that has already killed more than two million people worldwide.

The situation is easier to control in the Formula 1, NBA and the English Premier League with smaller number of participants.

But it’s a gargantuan task by any means when it comes to the Olympics with more than 11,000 athletes from more than 200 nations taking part. And mind you, that’s not including the officials, media personnel and people working to put the Games together.

The organisers are adamant to keep their promise by hosting a Games that will unite people but one has to admit that at this point nobody is really sure of the situation.

Japan is now fighting hard to control the Covid-19 situation with cases going through the roof over the last few weeks.

It has been reported that Japan have more than 376,000 cases and more than 5,000 casualties.

The country’s borders are not likely to open for the next few months to appease the growing public sentiment who are not in favour of the Olympics taking place in their backyard.

A recent poll by national broadcaster NHK found that 77% of the people in Japan think that the Games should be cancelled or postponed again.

One national athlete pointed it out to me that it would be an anxious wait-and-see game right now.

“Who does not want to go to the Olympics but we cannot ignore the chances that it might not happen.

“Our preparation will amount to nothing if it’s called off but we have to be ready for that.

“It is a world crisis and public health is more important than sports, ” said the Olympian.

His sentiment, I’m sure, is quietly shared by many others too as everyone eagerly waits for a decision to emerge from the Land of the Rising Sun.

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