Olympic organisers have insisted the Tokyo Games will go ahead as planned in July despite the sharp spike in Covid‑19 cases across the globe.
Yoshiro Mori, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics chief, said his team were not considering changing plans for the Games – and that a board member who had suggested a delay because of the coronavirus had apologised.
Sources at the International Olympic Committee are also stressing that nothing has changed, with those in the organisation pointing out there is still more than four months before the Games begin.
Senior IOC figures will be in Olympia on Thursday to watch the Olympic torch being lit at the ancient temple of Hera. It will then continue an eight-day journey through 37 cities in Greece before being handed over to Japan, where the torch will visit 47 prefectures over 121 days before arriving at the opening ceremony on 24 July.
Earlier this week a member of the organising committee’s executive board told Reuters that a delay of one or two years would be the “most feasible” option if the Olympics could not be held this summer. But that was emphatically dismissed by Mori. “It is our basic stance that we press ahead with preparation for a safe and secure Olympics … we are not at all thinking about changing courses or plans.”
Meanwhile the revamped Fed Cup finals, which were due to take place in Budapest, have been postponed. It is the second major tennis event to be cancelled this week after Indian Wells on Monday but came as little surprise after the Hungarian government declared a state of emergency, banning all indoor events with more than 100 people attending.
The ITF president, David Haggerty, said: “We are extremely disappointed to have to make this decision, but we will not risk the safety and welfare of players, captains, event staff or spectators. This decision has not been made lightly; the threat posed by the Covid‑19 is a serious one and calls for us to act responsibly.”
Another event that could be in danger if the coronavirus continues to spread is Anthony Joshua’s fight against Kubrat Pulev in June. “I cannot see how we can stage a fight behind closed doors with no crowd,” Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn said.