The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is facing its strongest headwinds in decades as it prepares to brief national committees on Wednesday on the state of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics amid the coronavirus pandemic, with voices of dissent growing louder.
The IOC has remained committed to staging the Tokyo Games as planned from July 24-Aug. 9, saying on Tuesday after a meeting with international sports federations that measures against the virus were delivering results.
The coronavirus has so far killed more than 7,500 people and infected about 200,000, with the epicentre now in Europe.
The IOC has refused to publicly consider cancellation or postponement as possible options, even as other major events including soccer’s Euro 2020 and Copa America and the French Open tennis grand slam announced postponements on Tuesday.
The virus has also wreaked havoc with Olympic qualification tournaments with athletes struggling to train, travel or compete and many pre-Games qualifiers cancelled or postponed.
Tokyo is set to host some 11,000 athletes and 53% have already earned their spot at the Games. The remaining 43% will clinch their place through modified qualifiers, or previous performances based on ranking.
Under the current exceptional circumstances, the IOC said, solutions needed to be found that were appropriate, though they might not be ideal for all athletes.
“This is an exceptional situation which requires exceptional solutions,” the IOC told Reuters in a statement on Wednesday.
“The IOC is committed to finding a solution with the least negative impact for the athletes, while protecting the integrity of the competition and the athletes’ health.
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