The International Olympic Committee (IOC) vice president John Coates on Monday said that Tokyo Olympics will go ahead next year regardless of the coronavirus pandemic.
The 2020 Olympic games were postponed because of the rapid spread of coronavirus and is now slated to begin on July 23, 2021.
“It will take place with or without Covid. The Games will start on July 23 next year,” Coates, the International Olympic Committee’s Coordination Commission for the Tokyo Games, told AFP.
“The Games were going to be their theme, the Reconstruction Games after the devastation of the tsunami,” he said, citing the 2011 catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
“Now very much these will be the Games that conquered Covid, the light at the end of the tunnel,” he added.
Limited spectators in 2020 Tokyo Olympics
Earlier in July, Tokyo 2020 Chief Executive Toshiro Muto had said that the Games could be held to a “limited audience”, but they wanted to evade the prospect of having no audience.
He also added that the Games could “simplify” its opening and closing ceremonies and also curtail the abundance of staffs and delegations from each country.
More than 11,000 athletes from around 200 countries were slated to participate in the 2020 Games. It is not known how the games will witness limited footfall with travel restrictions in place and borders being closed to foreign visitors.
“If a vaccine is ready, that will be a benefit, but we’re not saying we can’t hold the event without it – it’s not a precondition,” he said.
In April, Games chief Yoshiro Mori had said the Tokyo Games would have to be cancelled if there are not held in 2021.
Explaining the reason behind the decision, IOC President Thomas Bach said: “You cannot forever employ 3,000 to 5,000 people in an organising committee. You cannot every year change the entire sports schedule worldwide of all the major federations”
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Games had only ever been cancelled due to war but never postponed.