Lord Coe is confident the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will go ahead next summer, despite the ongoing pandemic and the mega-city’s struggles with coronavirus. The president of World Athletics travelled to Japan last month to meet with organisers and revealed on Thursday that he was “comforted [by] a real cast-iron will to deliver these Games”.
Coe believes there will have to be significant compromises in order to successfully stage the Olympics, which were originally due to begin in July before the pandemic intervened, but says his team is now working on the basis of a “much firmer proposition” that the Games will go ahead.
“I went to Tokyo just a few weeks ago with a small team from here,” Coe said. “The first team to go out there from here was actually my health and science team in August, that went up to Sapporo to look at the road courses, and also to advise the local organising committee on heat management and certainly some of the things that we’ve frankly written the playbook on now around outbreak prevention.
“And then I went with our competition teams and to cut to the chase, I was very comforted when I got back, and throughout the day and a half we were there, that there is a real cast-iron will to deliver these Games. Yeah there’ll probably be adaptations and changes, they talked about the simplification … but they are absolutely determined to stage these Games, so I have a pretty high level of confidence that we’ll be there. Nothing is certain in this world but I think we are working on a much firmer proposition that there will be a Games next year.”
More than 11,000 athletes from around 200 countries will descend on Japan for the Olympics, which are set to begin in July 2021, still under the banner of Tokyo 2020. The IOC president Thomas Bach insists there will still be fans attending despite the pandemic.
“We are putting really a huge tool box together in which we will put all the different measures we can imagine,” Bach said after a recent meeting with Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. “This makes us all very, very confident we can have spectators in the Olympic stadium next year.”