UPDATE @ 1.30 PM | The Australian Olympic Committee has confirmed this year’s Tokyo Olympics will go ahead, putting to rest “unfounded rumours” the event was going to be cancelled.
Just six months out from the opening of the Olympic Games, reports emerged this morning that Japanese officials were considering canning the July games.
The report claimed they were instead looking at securing the event in 2032, the same year Queensland is hoping to secure the games.
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Speaking to media on Friday afternoon, Australian Olympic Committee CEO Matt Carroll adamantly stressed the games were still going ahead as planned.
“The Tokyo Games are on… The flame will be lit on the 23rd of July 2021,” Mr Carroll said.
“This has just been reconfirmed by the Japanese Prime Minister this afternoon in Parliament in Tokyo.”
Mr Carroll described the news surrounding the games being cancelled as an “unfounded rumour”.
“This afternoon, our Chef de Mission has already written to all the athletes to ease their anxiety about what they’ve read in the media,” he said.
“We’re all working hard here at the AOC to take the Australian team to Tokyo, our largest since 2000.
“So with the athletes and support staff, about 1000 Australians to Tokyo… Take them there safely, give them the best opportunities for success, and then bring them safely back home to Australia where we can celebrate the games.”
However, Mr Carroll admitted this year’s Olympics will be a “very different games” due to the pandemic.
“Simpler, but with a focus on the athletes and their competitions,” he said. “Sadly ceremonies and cultural aspects of the games will be reduced, and decisions on spectators are still to be made.”
Athletes will arrive at their accommodation five days before their competitions and will leave within 48 hours of completion of their competition.
The Australian Olympic Committee has also confirmed it’s still working with the Queensland Government to try and secure the 2032 Olympic Games.
“The AOC, Federal Government, Queensland Government and Brisbane City Council are continuing to progress the candidature for the Olympic Games to be held in Queensland in 2032 – and that process continues,” they said in a statement.
EARLIER @ 10.30 AM | JAPAN has reportedly agreed to cancel the 2022 Tokyo Olympics because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Times has cited an unnamed senior government member who claims the government has privately agreed to focus on securing the Games in the next available year, 2032.
There has been a surge in COVID-19 cases in Japan recently, forcing the country to close its borders to foreigners and declare a state of emergency in Tokyo and other major cities.
“No one wants to be the first to say so but the consensus is that it’s too difficult,” The Times quoted the source as saying.
“Personally, I don’t think it’s going to happen.”
Games organisers have so far refused to comment on the report.
It follows a recent opinion poll showing 80 per cent of people in Japan did not want the games to go ahead in July as planned amid fears athletes could spread the virus further.