Thomas Bach, President of International Olympic Committee (IOC), said on Wednesday that the IOC continues to be wholly committed to holding the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2021, and is mulling over several scenarios for staging the event safely.
Bach added that the body's coordination commission had communicated "very good work in progress", and that more details will be provided to a complete IOC session which is set to held through video conferencing on Friday.
Games Delayed Due to COVID-19 Pandemic
Japan and the IOC postponed the Tokyo Games until 2021 in March because of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers have since spoken of trying to simplify the event - which had been due to start on July 24 - to reduce costs and ensure athletes' safety.
"We remain fully committed to celebrating Tokyo 2020 next year in July and August," Bach told reporters in a conference call. "The entire IOC is following the principle we established before the postponement (in March) that the first priority is about the safety of all participants."
"We continue to be guided by the advice of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and based on this advice we are preparing multiple scenarios," he added. "We don't know the health situation one year from now." He said that holding events without spectators was clearly something the IOC did not want.
"We are working for a solution which on the one hand is safeguarding the health of all participants and on the other hand is also reflecting the Olympic spirit," Bach added. He also said the IOC had agreed with host nation Senegal to postpone the 2022 Youth Olympic Games in Dakar until 2026.
"This allows the IOC and national Olympic committees to better plan activities which have been strongly affected by the postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games and subsequent postponement of other major sports events," he said. The decision will have to be ratified by the full IOC session on Friday.
(With inputs from agencies)