Japan faces major hurdles with 100 days until Tokyo Olympics
The Olympic flame is on its way around Japan and athletes around the world are ramping up their training programmes, but with 100 days before the delayed Tokyo 2020 games finally open, its organisers face monumental challenges.
The biggest headache is the resurgent coronavirus, with countries such as India and Brazil battling new variants and a fresh rise in cases and continuing anti-virus border restrictions have disrupted many qualifying events.
In Japan, its vaccination programme has been the slowest among developed economies, with Tokyo lurching in and out of soft lockdowns and battling a renewed spike in cases.
On Wednesday, the head of Tokyo’s Medical Association warned the rising infections could make holding the Games “really difficult”.
A surge in cases in the city of Osaka, has already forced organisers to change plans for the Olympic torch relay, which kicked off in Fukushima last month, with the event moved to a closed course at a park without spectators.
Foreign spectators have already been barred from attending the Games, which open on July 23, but the organisers have yet to decide how to handle any domestic audience.
“The situation is constantly shifting. Even in the last few months the coronavirus situation has changed massively, and it will continue to do so, and it’s very challenging to continue preparations when we don’t know what the situation will be in the future,” said Hidemasa Nakamura, the top organising committee official overseeing logistical preparations for the Games.
At a ceremony on Wednesday to mark 100 days to the Games, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said she was determined to make the event a success despite the difficulties.
“The fight against an invisible enemy, the coronavirus, is behind the one-year postponement (of the Tokyo Olympics to 2021), and it has been a major ordeal for humanity,” Koike said. “I would like us to overcome the fight against the coronavirus and make the Games a memorable event.”…..read more
Source: Al Jazeera