February 25, 2021

Five open questions five months before the Tokyo Olympics


A member of the organizing committee of the Tokyo Games

A member of the organizing committee of the Tokyo Games
EFE

The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled in the Japanese capital in five months, a period in which a series of key questions that will define the future of the event and the conditions for its participants must be resolved.

The Tokyo Olympic event has been surrounded by uncertainty for a year now, when as a result of the first phase of the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, there was talk of a possible cancellation or delay of the Games initially scheduled for the summer of 2020.

Now, 150 days after the ignition of the cauldron in the Tokyo Olympic Stadium, there are still certain doubts in central aspects of the Games that the hosts will have to clear up as the countdown progresses.

Will there be games?

The official message of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Japanese hosts leaves no room for doubt and has maintained for months that the Games will be held yes or yes, despite skepticism who have voiced some voices inside and outside of Japan and rumors about the possible cancellation.

The organizing committee affirms that it has designed Games capable of adapting to “any scenario” of the evolution of the pandemic and that at no time has a new delay or the definitive cancellation of the appointment been put on the table, which is scheduled to begin on 23 July.

The main doubts now focus more on logistics to carry out the Games in the midst of a pandemic, a circumstance that in addition to the enormous challenge that it entails has generated a growing popular rejection of the Japanese against the celebration of the event.

What will the Olympics of the pandemic be like?

The unprecedented format that the Tokyo Games will have begins to be seen in the series of guides published by the hosts during this month with the Proposed measures to protect the health of athletes, representatives of sports federations and committees national and accredited media.

The measures are summarized in the confinement of the athletes within a anticovid ‘bubble’: They will not be able to leave the Olympic Village except to train and compete, they will be subjected to a strict control of their activities and exhaustive PCR tests upon arrival in Japan and during their stay.

Athletes who test positive may be isolated in facilities designated by Japanese government authorities and will not be allowed to compete, while failure to comply with the rules established by the organization could result in disqualification.

These measures have “full support and trust” from the Olympic familysaid Christophe Dubi, COI executive director, at the conclusion of a coordination meeting between the agency and the Japanese hosts last week.

Dubi admitted however that there is still “a lot of work to be done against the clock”, such as delving into the details for each sport and each venue, which will be revealed in later versions of the manuals.

Should athletes be vaccinated?

Both the IOC and the Japanese organizing committee have ruled out that the vaccination of athletes is going to be an essential requirement for their participation at the Games, although they strongly recommend that athletes get vaccinated and will take steps to promote it.

While the International Olympic Committee noted that it is not legally possible to force athletes to inoculate themselves, the hosts have pointed out that getting vaccinated is “a contribution to the safe development of the Games” and a protective measure “for both athletes and for the Japanese people. ”

Will there be an audience in the stands?

For now not decided. The organizers have insisted on their intention to do so, although with some kind of restrictions, while IOC President Thomas Bach pointed out the need to “be flexible” and be willing to “make sacrifices” to ensure safety of the games.

The Japanese authorities have considered the possibility of the competitions taking place behind closed doors, according to local media published last month, when record numbers of infections were recorded as in other countries.

Competitions are currently held in Japan such as the national football and baseball leagues, both sports most popular in the country, with public presence in the stands although with the Entry limited to 50% of stadium capacity.

Will foreign visitors be admitted?

This is still a unknown to resolve. The access of tourists to Japan has been prohibited for months in the framework of the border restrictions put in place by the authorities Japan to prevent the spread of the virus, and which became even more hardened at the end of last December.

The closure of borders could be relaxed in March for travelers with new business, study or residence visas, but at the moment it is unknown when the Asian country will allow the entry of tourists again, and if it will do so in the face of the Games.

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