The Tokyo Olympics will top the agenda when the International Olympic Committee’s executive board meets today.
But with the board firmly backing the event, any talk of scrapping it altogether due to the Covid-19 pandemic is highly unlikely.
With less than six months to go until the troubled Games are due to start, the board will instead tackle questions over the vaccination of athletes, international visitors and the attendance of spectators, and safety regulations, among other matters.
The Olympic body, which will meet remotely, nevertheless finds itself in a similar situation to March last year when it was forced to postpone the Games by 12 months as the Covid-19 pandemic shut down sports worldwide.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is sticking to his government’s commitment to host the Games, with officials last week dismissing a report in Britain’s Times newspaper that Tokyo had abandoned hope of holding the event this year.
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Opinion polls in Japan show the public is strongly against staging the Games amid the pandemic, however. The IOC insists there is no plan B for Tokyo.
“Six months ahead of the Games, the entire Olympic movement is looking forward to the opening ceremony on July 23,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in a message to organisers on Saturday.
He conceded that it would be a “huge undertaking”, but added that major sporting events were already taking place around the world without the widespread availability of vaccination against the virus yet.
Much of Japan, however, is now under a state of emergency due to a third wave of Covid-19 infections and should the Games go ahead, they will no doubt be completely different from past editions. [Reuters]