While the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has halted most sports events in the world, Japan has decided to face the odds. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe just announced that the Tokyo Olympic Games, scheduled for July 2020, will go ahead as planned.
The Japanese premier affirmed, “We will overcome the spread of the infection and host the Olympics without a problem, as planned,” adding that the final decision, however, rests on the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Back in December, Japan revealed a budget of about 1.35 trillion yen for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, with an expected extra cost estimated at 3 billion yen.
Despite that Japan is now recording over 1,400 coronavirus cases and 28 resulting deaths, it did not miss the torch-lighting ceremony in ancient Olympia, Greece, yet without spectators.
The rest of the relay, which is traditionally meant to journey the torch to the planned Olympics games, aka Tokyo 2020 in this case, was adjourned to avoid attracting crowds.
Unless any further announcement, Japan’s section of the Olympic Torch relay is still scheduled to start on 26 March in Fukushima.
In that regard, Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike assured that serious measures are being taken, as reported by BBC: “We’re taking thorough infection measures with regards to the torch relay domestically.”
Athletes and their countries have been long preparing for this world’s foremost sports competition that takes place every four years, with more than 200 nations participating.
It will be a major disappointment to all if it gets canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak.
In that context, London hasn’t canceled its boxing events that are still scheduled for Saturday, while the US has postponed several of its Olympic trial events, including wrestling, rowing, and diving, according to BBC.