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It's 2021 or never for Tokyo Olympics show

Last updated 5 months ago | By Jonathan Komen and Agencies

5,000m gold medalist Vivian Cheruiyot and silver medalist Hellen Obiri pose with their medals at Rio Olympics. [Reuters]

Kenya’s world-beating athletes have welcomed a call by an International Olympic Committee (IOC) official to ensure Tokyo 2021 Olympics is held.

Olympic javelin silver medalist Julius Yego is hopeful that all will be well despite disruptions of Covid-19 pandemic which also saw President Uhuru Kenyatta putting in place cessation of movement to and from Nairobi, Mombasa and Mandera counties.

The ban on gatherings also means most athletes will not train together and this comes on the same day that than an IOC official said if Olympics are not held in 2021 then they could be cancelled.

“I am optimistic that the situation will be okay before next year. Look at 2016 Rio Olympic Games, there was zika virus and it subsided. So, even coronavirus will end.

“President Kenyatta’s decision to open the economy partially is an indication that things are getting better. The effects of the virus in Asia are not so severe like the initial situation. We will go for Olympic Games next year,” said yego.

But Hellen Obiri, the world 5,000m champion, said although she welcomes the Olympics taking place next year, she expressed some fears.

“We can’t tell now. It is only God who will guide the world. We all envy to compete at the Olympic Games but the coronavirus is beyond our control,” she said.

Yesterday, a high-ranking Olympic official Pierre-Olivier Beckers made plain that the delayed Tokyo Olympics “will be held in 2021 or not at all”.

The Belgian was reiterating the stance put forward by Japan and International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach that next year was the last chance to hold the Games postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Today everyone is sure that they will start on July 23, 2021,” he told Belgian newspaper L’Avenir.

“We are convinced that the Games will take place in 2021 or they won’t take place.

Beckers suggested it was “essential” that the traditional sporting calendar emerges from its Covid-19 lockdown before allowing major sporting events like the Olympics to be staged.

“All the sporting federations have to adapt to the Games’ postponement.

“We can’t envisage a similar upheaval a second time,” stressed the president of Belgium’s Olympic Committee.

According to Beckers, a final decision on Tokyo “will be taken in the spring if questions (over the global health crisis) persist.”

He said he was optimistic over the staging of the Games, rejecting any notion that it would be held behind closed doors.

In March, Tokyo 2020 was postponed one year over the coronavirus, which has killed hundreds of thousands around the world and halted international sport and travel.

Beckers heads the IOC’s coordinating commission for the 2024 Games and he said he wanted Paris “to be different” to past editions.

“We want to stage Games that are economically responsible, inclusive, sustainable and useful for society.

“The IOC’s desire is that the Games adapt to the needs of cities, countries, and vice versa. Paris will be the first edition that will fully fit into this vision.”

“We must fight against gigantism,” he continued.

“In Paris, we will return to a budget lower than that of previous editions: 3.8 billion euros for operations and around three billion for all infrastructure.”?

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