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Japanese Prime Minister insists Tokyo Olympics will go ahead in 2021

Japanese Prime Minister insists Tokyo Olympics will go ahead in 2021
January 2, 2021

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has insisted that this year’s Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics will go ahead despite rising fears that Coronavirus disruption will stretch into the middle of 2021.

With a spike in Coronavirus cases in Tokyo raising news fears about the Games and with Japan banning all non-resident foreigners from entering until 31st January, Prime Minister Suga has advised that the “Games will be held this summer”, promising that they will be “safe and secure”.

With the Olympics scheduled to begin on 23rd July, with the Paralympics following a month later, local and government officials have now warned that a state of emergency might be needed to tackle the spread of the disease - just over 200 days before the rescheduled Olympics are due to start.

Nonetheless, Olympic organisers still insist the Games will take place as planned in the summer in front of spectators, including overseas visitors.

However, it has been reported over recent days that athletes may face a 14-day quarantine period when they arrive in the country in July - something which the International Olympic Committee had previously ruled out.

It has been suggested that such measures could see a number of top stars pull out of the Games, including cyclists, as the Tour de France is scheduled to end just six days before the Olympic road race.

Belgian rider Greg van Avermaet, the Rio 2016 road race champion, was quoted by the Mail Online as stating “if the riders have to choose between the Tour and the Games, you will not have the strongest field in Tokyo. A solution has to be found.

“The commercial value of the Tour is very great. The Olympic Games are not raced in a team jersey, but it is still the team that pay us.”

Image: Tokyo's Japan National Stadium. Credit: Japan Sports Council.

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