SYDNEY: International Olympic Committee (IOC) vice-president John Coates was adamant on Saturday that nothing could stop the Tokyo Olympics from going ahead, despite ongoing risks from Covid-19.

Asked by AFP if there was any scenario in which the Games, which are due to start on July 23, could be cancelled or postponed again at this late stage, he replied: “No, there’s not.

“The prime minister of Japan said that to the president of the US two or three weeks ago. He continues to say that to the IOC. We’re working with him [Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga] on all of the safety measures. It’s going ahead.”

Suga held talks with US President Joe Biden in April and stressed the Asian nation was doing everything possible to contain Covid-19 infections and hold a “safe and secure” Olympics.

But questions continue to be raised about the viability of the Games, given the ongoing pandemic and a virus state of emergency in Tokyo and other parts of Japan being extended on Friday.

While Japan’s Covid-19 outbreak remains much smaller than in many countries, with just over 10,500 deaths, its vaccine rollout is moving slowly and polls show most Japanese people support cancellation or another delay.

Coates, the point man for the Games as head of the IOC’s coordination commission, said a huge amount of work had been done to ensure the safety of athletes and the Japanese public.

“We spent the first half of last year identifying all the worst-case scenarios,” he told reporters in Sydney on the sidelines of the Australian Olympic Committee’s annual general meeting. “We spent the next six months looking at the countermeasures that are necessary. We’re implementing those countermeasures, predicated on there being no vaccine, so that situation has improved. The Games will go ahead.”

Published in Dawn, May 9th, 2021

Opinion

Hoping for miracles
Updated 26 Sep 2021

Hoping for miracles

Pakistan will be exposed to international recrimination if the Taliban revert to their old ways.

Editorial

Updated 26 Sep 2021

Intransigent Taliban

PRIME MINISTER Imran Khan has delivered an effective speech at the UN General Assembly session detailing the salient...
26 Sep 2021

Deadly misinformation

THE distinction between ‘fake’ and ‘authentic’ news is now a concept impossible to escape. In an...
26 Sep 2021

Covid arrests

THE unilateral decision taken by Karachi’s East Zone police to arrest citizens without Covid vaccination cards ...
25 Sep 2021

NAB controversy

THE completion of the four-year term of NAB chairman Javed Iqbal early next month has afforded Prime Minister Imran...
Cabinet ‘inclusivity’
Updated 25 Sep 2021

Cabinet ‘inclusivity’

Voices are being raised questioning when the much-hyped inclusivity the group had talked about will materialise.
25 Sep 2021

Quorum malady

LACK of quorum has become a chronic problem for the present National Assembly which is in the process of becoming a...