IOC remains "fully committed" to proceeding with Tokyo Games

Womens - Tokyo Olympics
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The International Olympic Committee says it's still committed to holding the Tokyo Olympics as scheduled despite the growing spread of coronavirus.

As major events are cancelled around the world, including a number of Olympic qualifying events, the IOC said there was no need for "drastic decisions" with the games not set to begin until July 22.

"The situation around the COVID-19 virus is also impacting the preparations for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and is changing day by day," a statement released on Tuesday morning said.

"The IOC remains fully committed to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and with more than four months to go before the Games there is no need for any drastic decisions at this stage; and any speculation at this moment would be counter-productive.

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The IOC encourages all athletes to continue to prepare for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 as best they can. We will keep supporting the athletes by consulting with them and their respective NOCs, and by providing them with the latest information and developments, which are accessible for athletes worldwide on the Athlete365 website and via their respective NOCs and IFs."

Despite being adamant the games will proceed, the IOC will continue to assess the growing disaster as the Olympics become closer.

"The IOC will continue to monitor the situation 24/7," Tuesday's statement read.

"Already in mid-February, a task force was set up consisting of the IOC, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Japanese authorities and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

"The purpose of the task force is to ensure coordinated actions by all stakeholders.

"It has the mission to keep a constant appraisal of the situation to form the basis for the ongoing operational planning and necessary adaptations. The task force also monitors the implementation of the various actions decided.

"The IOC will continue to follow the guidance of this task force.

"The IOC’s decision will not be determined by financial interests, because thanks to its risk management policies and insurance it will in any case be able to continue its operations and accomplish its mission to organise the Olympic Games."

In a bid to address the global pandemic, test events in the coming months have been changed as have stages of the Olympic torch relay and the lighting of the torch in Greece.

Upcoming meetings will also be held as much via teleconference as possible.

One of the major concerns when it comes to staging the Olympics is whether athletes will have 

Australia's two Sevens teams have already qualified but teams still yet to secure their spots are scheduled to play off in global repechages in June.

More than half of the potential contingent have qualified already, with 43 per cent of places still yet to be determined.

Any changes to qualification processes is expected to be announced by mid-April.

IOC president Thomas Bach said the welfare of everyone involved in the event was paramount.

: “The health and well-being of all those involved in the preparations for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is our number-one concern," he said.

"All measures are being taken to safeguard the safety and interests of athletes, coaches and support teams. We are an Olympic community; we support one another in good times and in difficult times.

"This Olympic solidarity defines us as a community.”

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