TOKYO: IOC president Thomas Bach and Yoshiro Mori, the head of the Tokyo Olympic organising committee, gave an online pep talk on Monday to national Olympic committee representatives to allay fears about the postponed games.
About 200 national Olympic committees are expected to be represented next year in Tokyo. Organisers held an English-speaking session on Monday for chefs de mission, with French and Spanish sessions scheduled for later in the week.
These sessions have been typically held in the host city and were held in Tokyo before the Olympics were postponed.
“The fact that I can only greet you virtually is itself a reflection of the unprecedented situation we all are facing,” Bach said in his brief, pre-recorded opening remarks to the three-hour meeting.
The session was not open to the media.
Bach assured the delegates that Tokyo was preparing for every eventuality, but acknowledged it may be months before the contours of the postponed Olympics will be clear.
“Even in these ever-changing times, many of the operation details that are on top of all chefs de missions minds are still being worked on,” Bach said. “But please rest assured that we are focused on developing a tool box of Covid countermeasures for every possible scenario.”
Bach again called Tokyo the best prepared Olympic city.
Mori, a former Japanese prime minister, said he was aware of the anxiety the postponement had created. But he spoke optimistically that Tokyo can pull it off.
“You will no doubt be most affected by the various anti-corona measures that will be put in place,” he said.
Tokyo organisers have said exact details about how more than 15,000 Olympic and Paralympic athletes can compete safely in Tokyo and the presence of thousands more officials, staff members and media will be not revealed until later this year, or well into 2021.
This also includes questions about whether fans will be allowed at the venues, and if non-Japanese fans will be permitted to attend at all.
Bach repeated that on-going developments of rapid tests and vaccines gives us all good reason for cautious optimism.
Published in Dawn, October 13th, 2020