From the blog

JAPAN: Test Event Success Gives Tokyo Olympics The All Clear

It appears the Tokyo Olympic games will be going ahead in July following the success of the various athletics test events attended by a handful of international and local athletes.

Even the World Athletics president, Sebastian Coe admitted there is nervousness in Japan over hosting an Olympics during a pandemic, he believes the Games will go ahead safely nonetheless.

Japan is battling a resurgence in coronavirus infections and opinion polls consistently find the majority of the public is opposed to the Games, which are due to open on 23 July.

Those concerns have been exacerbated by a slow vaccine rollout, with much of the country also under a state of emergency.

Speaking on the concerns, Sebastian Coe said: “We take that nervousness very, very seriously,” he said. “We have Covid protocols that have been tried and tested, and I’ve witnessed them here. We take very seriously the health and wellbeing of local communities.”

“But the challenges are big. I don’t believe any Olympic Games has been delivered under more difficult circumstances. These Games have an overlay of complexity that is beyond most comprehension.”

Tokyo 2020’s deputy executive director of games operations, Yasuo Mori, said no one tested positive for Covid-19 during the trial runs with the 69 athletes made to stay in hotels with no contact with members of the public.

Organisers will decide next month whether fans can attend events, but supporters from abroad have already been banned. However, Coe said that even if there were no crowds in stadiums “the Games will still take place and the competition will still be extremely good”.

Tokyo is officially spending £11.1bn to hold the Olympics, but some estimates say it is twice that much. The IOC is pushing on with the Games, partly because 73% of its income is from selling broadcast rights.