Athletes should go to Tokyo with confidence, says IOC chairman

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Olympic chief Thomas Bach has told athletes that they should go to Tokyo with “full confidence” that the postponed 2020 Games will be safe for competitors and not endanger the health of the Japanese people.

Speaking in a Q&A session during the Athletes Commission’s online conference yesterday, the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said that the safety of athletes was at the heart of planning for the July 23-August 8 Games.

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“Tokyo is the most well -prepared Olympic city and this is mainly related to the focus they give on athletes and the experience of athletes,” Germany told about 2,000 athletes and Olympic officials from Lausanne.

“Because of the epidemic we all know, unfortunately, the experience of athletes will be very different but what is important is that competition can and will take place in a safe and respectful way for athletes.

“This should give us all confidence that it’s really about athletes and making athletes feel comfortable and making Japanese people feel comfortable. “Come to Tokyo with confidence and be prepared,” he added.

The Covid-19 pandemic showed no signs of easing in Japan less than two months before the Games and the government sought to extend the state of emergency in Tokyo and other areas for about three weeks to June 20.

Concerns in Japan about novel coronavirus variants and a slow vaccination impetus have prompted immediate calls from doctors, several high -profile business leaders and hundreds of thousands of citizens to cancel the Olympics.

Bach previously said 80 percent of the 10,500 athletes expected in Japan will be vaccinated and on Thursday urged Olympians to get their shots if they can.

“Take the opportunity every time to get vaccinated because this will increase safety there for everyone, for yourself, for all your athletes and for the people of Japan,” he said. “I got two shots and I’m still in good shape.”

IOC Chief Operating Officer Lana Haddad told the conference that an athlete consent form would be asked to sign to release Tokyo organizers from responsibility for the Covid-19 issue is “standard practice” for “big event organizers”.

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