Olympics will 'absolutely go ahead': IOC official - RTHK
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Olympics will 'absolutely go ahead': IOC official

2021-05-08 HKT 11:59
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  • Malaysian diver Pandelela Pamg takes part in a pre-Olympic event in Tokyo this week. Concern has mounted in Japan over the safety of the Games. Photo: AP
    Malaysian diver Pandelela Pamg takes part in a pre-Olympic event in Tokyo this week. Concern has mounted in Japan over the safety of the Games. Photo: AP
Top Olympic official John Coates said on Saturday that while Japanese sentiment turning against the Tokyo Games was a "concern", he could foresee no scenario under which the sporting showpiece would not go ahead.

Questions have been raised about the viability of staging the Games in July and August with Tokyo in a state of emergency as Japan continues to struggle to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.

Coates, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) point man for the Games as chair of the coordination commission, said he had no doubt that the Games, already postponed by a year because of the pandemic, would proceed as planned.

"Absolutely, it's going ahead," Coates told reporters after hosting the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) annual general meeting in Sydney.

"The Prime Minister of Japan said that to the President of the United States two or three weeks ago. He continues to say that to the IOC."

Coates expressed confidence that the "playbook" of health requirements for all participants unveiled by organisers last week was "a guide for a safe and successful Games".

There is growing opposition in Japan towards the Olympics proceeding, however, and more than 230,000 people have signed a petition calling for them to be cancelled.

"That is a concern," Coates added. "I think that there's a correlation between the numbers who are concerned about their safety with the numbers who have been vaccinated in Japan.

Coates also hit out at the suggestion that the IOC was ploughing ahead with the Games "at all costs" to fulfill lucrative contracts with broadcasters and sponsors.

"If we were doing that, we would have pushed ahead with them last year. We didn't," he said. (Reuters)