NEW DELHI: Japan’s Olympic committee president, Yasuhiro Yamashita, has written to the presidents of all National Olympic Committees (NOCs), including Indian Olympic Association chief Narinder Batra, dismissing reports of the cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics scheduled from July 23-August 8 this year, while reassuring the NOC members world over that the Games’ Organising Committee (OC) will deliver a successful edition which will showcase an “unprecedented symbol of human solidarity.”
Yamashita said that the Tokyo OC is placing the athletes on top of everything while preparing meticulous and comprehensive countermeasures that reassures us as the host NOC. “Some of you (NOC members) may know that the State of Emergency has been once again declared in Japan on January 7th. I understand that you might be worried about the situation in Japan. We are fully expecting that this will improve the current situation of Covid-19 with effective measures by the government and the related governing bodies. Please let me point out that the State of Emergency in Japan is different from the so-called lockdown. We are all allowed to go out but keep “physical distance.” At this very moment, I believe that many athletes around the world are training hard. Since the new year, domestic sports competitions such as football and rugby matches have been held at the National Stadium with sufficient infection control measures,” Yamashita wrote in his communication to the IOA.
“With six months left until the Olympic Games, the preparation is progressing. The planned infection control measures are reported in December. Communication with stakeholders is even more important for completing the most effective measures. If necessary, the NOC service team of Tokyo 2020 will take care of you to support NOC operations, including the immigration process. The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee is placing athletes on top of everything while preparing meticulous and comprehensive countermeasures that reassures us as the host NOC. Holding the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and welcoming over 200 NOCs, including your delegation, will be difficult without all NOC’s cooperation and solidarity. The connection among all NOCs is essential, and I believe it is the best opportunity to deliver power to the world through the Olympic Games. For a safe Olympic Games for all participants, there will be various restrictions and conditions that will be different from the past. Of course, the JOC will follow the guidelines and fulfill its responsibility as a host nation.”
“As you may have seen in the news reports based on the opinion poll in Japan, it is natural that there are many different voices under a declared State of Emergency. On the other hand, we are receiving many supportive voices from athletes around the globe. I am glad and thankful to hear those strong words. Also, many Japanese athletes are showing their confidence towards the Games. The JOC will work closely with the IOC, and be responsible for listening to their voices and bringing them to our society. I believe it helps other athletes get rid of their anxieties. Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is an opportunity to deliver the irreplaceable values of the Olympic Movement to the world. When the world gathers this summer after overcoming this crisis, it will also be an unprecedented symbol of human solidarity,” Yamashita concluded.
In response, Batra wrote that the IOA and sporting authorities in the country were positively gearing up to bring a strong, well-prepared Indian contingent to Tokyo this July. “We understand this Summer Games will be different from the previous editions and IOA is keen to learn the guidelines, restrictions and conditions being enforced so that the same information can be passed on to our various national sports federations. This will help us to ensure our athletes and officials are well-informed of the guidelines before their arrival in Tokyo.”