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Covid-19 | Tokyo Olympic head says IOC president’s visit to Japan could be ‘tough’

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IOC President Thomas Bach plans to go to Hiroshima to fulfill the torch relay — and presumably to Tokyo — on May 17 and 18.

The president of the Tokyo Olympic organising committee stated on Friday {that a} go to to Japan this month by IOC President Thomas Bach appeared unlikely with a state of emergency order being prolonged by the federal government to Tokyo and different areas till May 31.

Canceling the journey may very well be embarrassing for the International Olympic Committee and native organisers who say they will maintain a “safe and secure” Olympics in the midst of a pandemic as instances surge in Japan — significantly in Tokyo and Japan’s second metropolis of Osaka.

The postponed Olympics is to open in solely 11 weeks, on July 23, adopted by the Paralympics on August 24.

“Frankly speaking, I personally think it would be quite tough for him to come now,” organising committee president Seiko Hashimoto said at a weekly briefing, adding that “nothing had been decided.” “But the extension of the state of emergency and having him go to throughout that point will imply that president Bach might be visiting in a fairly a tough time,” Hashimoto stated.

“I think that would be a very difficult thing for him.” Bach said recently he hoped to go to Hiroshima to meet the torch relay — and presumably to Tokyo — on May 17 and 18. But he has said his plans were not finalised.

Coincidentally, powerful IOC member Sebastian Coe is in Tokyo for a track and field test event on Sunday at the new $1.4 billion national stadium.

Coe is the president of World Athletics, the governing body of track and field, and was also the head of the 2012 London Olympics. He is seen as a potential successor to Bach when the German’s term ends in 2025, and is also a two-time Olympic gold medalist in the 1,500 meters.

Coe has been laudatory about a half marathon test event run earlier this week in Sapporo. He’s also sympathetic with Hashimoto trying to pull off the Olympics.

“I know the pressure that you are under,” Coe stated to Hashimoto. “But mercifully in London, we did not have the added complexity of worrying about protocols round a pandemic. So you could have our sympathy in that further tier of complexity.” Coe also met with Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike as both try to assure that the Olympics will be safe. Some scientists have suggested otherwise, and an editorial last month in the British Medical Journal said the Olympics should be “reconsidered.”

Testing

Tokyo organisers are talking up a six-day diving test event that ended Friday. There was only one positive COVID-19 test among 438 participants — including 224 divers from 46 countries and territories. The positive test was for a team official, who was placed in quarantine, officials said.

“Feedback from the rivals has been very constructive,” the organising committee and FINA, the governing physique of swimming and diving, stated in a press release.

The assertion quoted Canadian diver Jennifer Abel saying: “The main goal for everyone is to be and feel safe, and we are very safe here. We cannot ask for better conditions with the COVID situation.” Hashimoto stated a donation by vaccine builders Pfizer and BioNTech to inoculate athletes and officers getting ready for Tokyo would make the video games safer. The settlement was introduced Thursday by the IOC.

Hashimoto stated this was significantly true for residents of Japan, the place lower than 2% of the inhabitants has been vaccinated.

“I myself fully understand that people will not feel comfortable,” she said, referring to young athletes jumping to the front of the line ahead of the elderly and other vulnerable populations.

“This shouldn’t impression the vaccination of the precedence inhabitants in Japan.”



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