25 Feb, 2020 @ 21:34
1 min read

Olympics in Tokyo ‘facing cancellation’ due to coronavirus outbreak but leading IOC member Dick Pound predicts it will be ‘business as usual’

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THE Tokyo Olympics has a three-month window to decide whether it can take place due to the coronavirus. 

That’s the estimation made by Dick Pound, the longest-serving member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

In an exclusive interview with the Associated Press, Pound conceded that the games, due to start in the Japanese capital on July 24, are under threat, but assured that it will ‘most likely’ be business as usual.

“You could certainly go to two months out if you had to,” he told AP, “A lot of things have to start happening.

“You’ve got to start ramping up your security, your food, the Olympic Village, the hotels, the media folks will be in there building their studios.”

Avoiding sounding alarmist, Pound said that if it got too close to the games without sufficient advances made against the virus, ‘you could be looking at a cancellation.’

Coronavirus

He added: “This is the new war and you have to face it. In and around that time, I’d say folks are going to have to ask: ‘Is this under sufficient control that we can be confident about going to Tokyo, or not?’

“As far as we all know you’re going to be in Tokyo. All indications are at this stage that it will be business as usual.

“So keep focused on your sport and be sure that the IOC is not going to send you into a pandemic situation.”

If cancelled, it would be the second-time for Tokyo after the 1940 games were called off due to its war with China.

It comes as its closest neighbour reported another 508 cases today and a further 71 deaths.

It brings the totals in the country to 77,658 cases and 2,663 deaths.

Laurence Dollimore

Laurence has a BA and MA in International Relations and a Gold Standard diploma in Multi-Media journalism from News Associates in London. He was news editor for all print editions of the Olive Press from 2016 to 2019 taking on the role of Digital Editor between January 2020 and February 2021.

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