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Tokyo 2020 Olympics

IOC chief confident of safe Tokyo Games, says too early for deadlines

In-depth discussions on COVID-19 measures scheduled in coming weeks: Bach

IOC President Thomas Bach, seen here in March after the decision to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Games.   © Reuters

The International Olympic Committee has confidence in its preparations and in Japanese government support for next year's Tokyo Olympics, but said all scenarios would be discussed in the coming weeks amid the ongoing pandemic.

IOC President Thomas Bach said on Wednesday that his organisation was committed to delivering a safe Games and had the full support of the Japanese government following the resignation of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, but the look of next year's Games was still unclear.

"In the coming weeks you will see important and intensive discussions taking place with regard to different scenarios to COVID-19 counter measures," Bach told a news conference following an executive board meeting.

"We remain focused on delivering safe and successful Games next year."

The Tokyo 2020 Games were postponed to next year in an unprecedented decision in March as the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the globe.

Bach said while several aspects of the Games' organisation, such as international spectators or qualifications processes, needed to be finalised months in advance, no deadline for those had yet been set.

"At some stage before the Games we will have to take these relevant decisions but right now I am not in a position to give you a concrete answer. We don't know how the world looks like tomorrow."

Qualification for the Games starts months before the event while international travel for the Olympics is also usually booked months or even years in advance.

The rearranged Tokyo Games must be held "at any cost" in 2021, Japan's Olympic Minister Seiko Hashimoto had said on Tuesday.

"The situations are changing day by day when you look at different travel restrictions around the world," Bach said. "This is one of the examples which has direct impact on our planning."

He said progress in rapid testing and vaccine developments would play a role until next year and would also influence Games plans.

"But I do not know about a deadline for the reason that we don't really know the environment we will be in next year," Bach said. "It is too early to set the deadline."

(Reuters)

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