Tokyo Games On Track, Says IOC

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FILE - In this March 20, 2019, file photo, Olympic torches of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are displayed during a press conference in Tokyo. Members of the Japanese soccer team that won the Women's World Cup in 2011 will be the first to carry the torch for the Tokyo Olympics when the relay opens on March 26, 2020. Organizers made the announcement on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019 but did not say which player - or players - would be the first to carry the torch. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) tried to assure dozens of international sports federations yesterday that the postponed Tokyo Games will open on July 23.

The IOC and Tokyo organisers have been holding online sessions this week with about 200 national Olympic committees and the more than 30 summer sports bodies that are represented on the programme.

“We are very confident that the Games in Tokyo next year will take place,” IOC sports director Kit McConnell told delegates. “We are moving forward on this basis.”

The sessions are not open to the media, and only opening statements were made available. The IOC and local organisers have been campaigning for several months to rekindle interest among the Japanese public and assure sponsors that have invested billions of dollars that the Olympics can take place during a pandemic.

They are not expected to reveal concrete plans until later this year or early in 2021.

Still up in the air is how more than 15,000 Olympic and Paralympic athletes can safely enter Japan, along with thousands of staff, technical officials, sponsors, media and broadcasters. It’s also unclear if fans will be allowed to populate venues and if nonJapanese fans will be allowed to enter the country.

Earlier this month, local organizers announced cuts to the Olympic program amounting to about $280 million about 2 per cent of the official budget. 

There have been no cuts to sports or the number of athletes. The cuts, mostly modest and in fringe areas, did not involve any of the increased cost of postponing the Games for a year, which local estimates suggest could be $2 billion to $3 billion.

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