Sport Olympics-Tokyo organisers bid to allay Sapporo test event concerns
Cancel the Olympics? Japanese people say yes, IOC says no
Backed by 350,000 signatures, amid a state of emergency, it arrived at Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike’s desk with a simple message. Despite growing opposition, the International Olympic Committee and Tokyo 2020 organizing committee have repeatedly said that the Games are on. “Our experts are satisfied that it can be done,” Dick Pound, the IOC’s longest-serving member, told Yahoo Sports in a phone interview. The Japanese government and organizing committee agree, Pound said, that “we can do this, and we should do it.” But a series of minor cancellations and COVID-related alterations have stimulated external concern that plans could still crumble.
By Chris Gallagher
SAPPORO, Japan (Reuters) - Tokyo Olympic organisers acknowledged on Tuesday that Sapporo residents were concerned about a marathon test event being held in the northern Japanese city amid a rise in COVID-19 cases and said they were implementing measures to hold the event safely.
The marathon test event - actually a half-marathon and a 10K race - will be held on Tuesday starting from Sapporo's Odori park. Yasuo Mori, Tokyo 2020's deputy executive director of the Games operations bureau, addressed the concerns amid a record rise in coronavirus infections in the city. "We are fully aware (Sapporo) residents feel uneasy with the current situation, and we are carrying out various steps as we want to prepare for an event where people can feel even a little bit more at ease," Mori told a news conference. In Hokkaido, new daily cases hit a record 326 on Sunday, public broadcaster NHK reported. The prefecture plans to call for stronger anti-virus measures in Sapporo including shorter restaurant hours and for more people to work from home.
Olympics-Coe says Tokyo organisers delivered on COVID-19 protocols
US-OLYMPICS-2020-TEST-MARATHON:Olympics-Coe says Tokyo organisers delivered on COVID-19 protocolsSAPPORO, Japan (Reuters) - World Athletics chief Sebastian Coe on Wednesday gave Tokyo Olympic organisers high marks for a marathon test event they staged in Sapporo, saying they were able to deliver both on the operation of the race and on their COVID-19 countermeasures.
The test event was scaled down greatly due to the coronavirus situation with only 93 runners planning to take part in the half marathon. General entry for 2,500 runners was cancelled. Mori also spoke about the "stringent measures" put in place for testing the six foreign athletes who have entered the country for the event, with daily screenings required and no public transportation allowed. The Olympic marathon and race walk events are scheduled to be held from Aug. 5 to 8 in Sapporo. They were originally planned to take place in Tokyo but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) surprised Games organisers in October 2019 by announcing the events would be moved to Sapporo to avoid the worst of Tokyo’s summer heat.
The decision did not go down well with Tokyo organisers, who had done extensive planning for the events, including a series of cooling measures for the athletes, nor with the Tokyo governor, who reluctantly consented to the move.
The pandemic, however, has eclipsed worries about the heat. Tokyo and three other areas are under a state of emergency as the authorities try to halt a resurgence in coronavirus cases with less than three months before the Games open.
(Reporting by Chris Gallagher, editing by Ed Osmond)
Japan's Osaka 'not sure' Olympics should happen as doubts grow .
Japanese superstar Naomi Osaka admitted she was "not really sure" the coronavirus-hit Tokyo Olympics should go ahead as doubts grew about the Games just weeks before the opening ceremony. Nishikori said there "definitely should be a discussion" on whether Tokyo should plough ahead with the Olympics. "I don't know what they are thinking, and I don't know how much they are thinking about how they are gonna make (a) bubble, because this is not like 100 people like these tournaments," he said.