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2020 Summer Olympic Games Still On Amidst COVID-19 Concerns - IOC

However, amidst the concerns, the IOC says it "remains fully committed to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and with more than four months to go before the games there is no need for any drastic decisions at this stage; any speculation at this moment would be counter-productive." Therefore, all athletes should continue preparing for the games as best as they can.
Joshua Cheptegei


The International Olympic Committee (IOC) says the 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic  Games will take place this year  as scheduled in Tokyo, Japan. 

Olympics are set for July 24 to August 9th, followed by Paralympic Games from August 25 to September 6th. Over 150 countries are expected to participate in both games. 

According to it's latest communication dated 17th March 2020, the IOC says the games are still on, amidst concerns about the containment of the novel Coronavirus (COVID -19) across the world, which has killed over 7,000 people and close to 180,000 infected in 150 countries, including Japan. 

According to the World Health Organisation, by end of Tuesday, Spain had 13,716 confirmed cases, 558 deaths, France with 7,730 cases and 175 deaths while Japan had 1,614  cases and 36 deaths among the hardest hit countries. 

The illness, commonly known as COV-19 has resulted in the suspension of many sports events especially football leagues in Europe, while some football games and marathons have gone on minus fans. 

Now, the IOC says that the virus is also impacting on the preparations for the Tokyo games since the situation keeps changing day by day and therefore all stakeholders involved should "do everything within their remits to "contain the virus."  Trials in some countries including the US were postponed last week due to COV-19 fears. 

However, amidst the concerns, the IOC says it "remains fully committed to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and with more than four months to go before the games there is no need for any drastic decisions at this stage; any speculation at this moment would be counter-productive."

Therefore, all athletes should continue preparing for the games as best as they can. 

Also, the IOC pledges to provide timely updates and information to athletes and all stakeholders on the Athlete365 website and through the respective National Olympic Committees regarding the Tokyo games.

The President of IOC, Thomas Bach says that "the safety and well-being of all those involved in the preparations for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is our number-one concern."

Bach adds that "all measures are being taken to safeguard the safety and interests of athletes, coaches, and support teams. We are an Olympic Community; we support each other in good times and in difficult times."

In the coming days, the IOC will now consult the National Olympic Committees, the athletes' representatives, the International Paralympic Committee, the International federations and other key stakeholders  on preparations ahead of the games slated for mid year. 

The communique notes that 57 percent of the athletes have already qualified for the games. For the remaining 43 percent of places, the IOC will work with the international sports federations to make the necessary and practical adaptations to their respective qualification systems for Tokyo 2020. 

IOC will publish any adjustments to the qualification systems for every sport beginning of April. However, some of the adjustments  will be based on international federation rankings or historical events, use of continental or regional rankings at recent events.

The IOC communique comes days after Japan's Prime Minister, Abe Shinzo told G-7 leaders last week that he "wants to hold the Olympics and Paralympics perfectly, as proof that the human race can conquer the new Coronavirus."

It is estimated that Japan has invested between $9billion to $25billion US Dollars to host the Olympics and Paralympics. However, this is lower than the $45 billion US Dollars China spent for the 2008 Beijing Games. 

Japan  is expected reap close to $300billion US Dollars from hosting both events from increased tourism and provision of certain services including hotel, fitness and transport among others. 

Therefore, cancelling the events will affect not only the  11,000 Olympic and 5,000 Paralympic athletes, but also cause conflicts with broadcasters and sponsors among other stakeholders involved in the games.

For example, in 2018, the  Uganda's Local Olympics Organising Committee drew a budget of shillings 4 billion for preparations and participation of athletes in the 2020 Olympics. The money has been allocated in tranches through the 2018/2019,2019/2020 and 2020/2021 financial years.

So far, Uganda has already qualified 16 athletes to the Olympics,16 runners led by 10km and 5km world record holder Joshua Cheptegei and  one single curl rower and a boxer. Also 3 paralympic athletes led by David Emong have qualified for the Tokyo Paralympic Games. 

The delegations for both events are expected to expand with upcoming  qualifier events. 

Dr. Bernard Patrick Ogwel, the  General Secretary of National Council of Sports, told the media two weeks ago that Uganda is taking precautions as the various sports associations prepare athletes for the remaining Olympic and Paralympic qualifiers.














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