Late in March, the International Olympic Committee postponed the Tokyo Olympic Games to 2021.
But many scientists, and Japanese University professors say that the Games can’t be held in 2021 as it is planned (July 23 – August 8), if the coronavirus isn’t brought under control until next year. There are a lot of open questions, but the most important is the health and safety of all athletes and other participants. Everything depends on the development of a vaccine against COVID-19 infection. Most experts hope a vaccine is likely to become available by the middle of the next year. In that case, the Games shouldn’t be in danger.
One thing is almost sure – if the Tokyo Games aren’t held next year, they will be canceled.
Yoshiro Mori, the president of the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, said that Games wouldn’t be postponed if they couldn’t take place in 2021.
“No. In that case (if they are not held in 2021 – Ed.), the Olympics will be scrapped,” Mori said in today’s interview with Japanese daily Nikkan Sports, when he was asked if the Tokyo Games could be postponed again until 2022.
Still, he remains confident the Games will be staged next year.
“We have delayed the Olympics until next summer after we will have won the battle. This Olympics would be much more valuable than any Olympics in the past if we could go ahead with it after winning this battle. We have to believe this. Otherwise, our hard work and efforts will not be rewarded- he said.
Last week, Dick Pound, the International Olympic Committee’s vice-president, also said that the Games couldn’t be postponed once more.
“The Japanese have said we can keep the ball up in the air for a year, but not longer than a year. We really have to hope that we get this act together in time for 2021, Pound said in an interview with the Canadian Broadcast Corporation.
Asked about Mori’s comments, Tokyo 2020 spokesman Masa Takaya said the organizers were focusing on the Games in 2021.
“New dates for the Tokyo 2020 Games have been set, and our mission is to deliver the Games next year. The chairman was speaking in a personal capacity. We have created a framework to combat the coronavirus with the IOC, and are closely collaborating, with the involvement of the World Health Organization.”.
The International Olympic Committee and the Japanese organizers have established a Joint Steering Committee, which has a task to make a new roadmap for preparing and staging the Games in 2021, including many measures addressing the potential impact of COVID-19. The details of planning for Tokyo 2020 in 2021 are being examined to establish a new roadmap for the Games by May.
The global sports calendar for this year and 2021 has already suffered a lot of changes.
FINA canceled or postponed all its events for this year, but still hasn’t confirmed new dates. As for water polo, the Olympic qualifications, planned for May, were postponed until further notice, while the World League should be continued in September/October. FINA hasn’t determined the new dates for the World Championships, originally scheduled for summer 2021 (July 16 – August 1).
According to unofficial information, LEN Bureau will hold a video conference on Monday to discuss changes in the calendar of the European water polo competitions in 2021. For now, all competitions are postponed, but none of the final decisions hasn’t be made yet.
Europe is recovering from the pandemic step-by-step. That begins to affect the activities of water polo teams.
The national female team of Hungary started to work in the pool today, while the Hungarian men’s national squad will train tomorrow for the first time after the suspension of the competitions. The two teams will train in the Csaszar-Komjadi swimming pool in Budapest, according to the agreement between the Hungarian Water Polo Federation and the Government. The work in the pool is in accordance with a serious health protocol.
The Croatian water polo clubs from the First League have started to train in pools yesterday.