Tokyo 2020: IOC faces 'big communications
Olympic chiefs admitted Friday they face a 8220;very big communications job 8221; to soothe concerns over the coronavirus epidemic in the run-up to this summer 8217;s Tokyo 2020 Games.
The head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) coordination commission insisted there was no danger of Tokyo 2020 being cancelled or moved, despite fears over the fast-spreading virus which has killed nearly 1,400 and infected around 64,000 8212; most of them in China.
But he said the IOC will send out information packs to reassure athletes that it 8217;s safe to come into contact with competitors from China.
8220;The advice we have received from the World Health Organization (WHO) is that there is no case for a contingency plan to cancel or move the Games, 8221; John Coates told reporters after a project review meeting.
8220;Certainly it 8217;s a very big communications job that needs to be undertaken, 8221; he added, noting that China is set to send more than 600 athletes to Tokyo.
8220;But we hear that most of the Chinese athletes are now out of China. I don 8217;t know how many were to be involved in test events here, but I don 8217;t see a problem if they 8217;re coming from another country. 8221;
Coates promised lessons would be learned from Rio four years ago, when concerns over the mosquito-born Zika virus led to several top athletes pulling out of the Olympics, including golfers Jason Day and Rory McIlroy.
8220;The WHO pointed out the likelihood of Zika being a problem at the time of the Games was very low, 8221; he said.
8220;But we did lose some athletes 8212; Jason Day 8217;s wife was pregnant. We didn 8217;t communicate the information well enough. 8221;
Tokyo organisers have slammed 8220;fake news 8221; and scare-mongering over the coronavirus outbreak for causing panic ahead of the Games, which open on July 24.
More than 25 countries have confirmed cases of the flu-like disease, which the WHO has declared a global health emergency.
There have been 33 cases on land and more than 200 positive tests of people quarantined on a cruise ship floating off Yokohama since last week.
Coates conceded that there could be fear among athletes about facing competitors from China.
8220;We did talk about that, 8221; said the Australian.
8220;The IOC is going to ensure (information) kits are sent to all national committees to explain what 8217;s happening around the world where Chinese athletes are competing, 8221; he added.
8220;But I can confirm Tokyo 2020 remains on track, 8221; insisted Coates, who revealed IOC president Thomas Bach will lay a wreath at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park on the sidelines of the May 19-20 executive project review.
The virus has already impacted sporting events in Asia, including Olympic qualifiers for boxing and basketball 8212; both in China.
Formula One 8217;s Shanghai Grand Prix, scheduled to take place in April, has been postponed with the inaugural Vietnamese Grand Prix also under threat.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe 8217;s government has come under fire for its handling of the infection, especially quarantine measures seen as too lax in the early stages of the epidemic.标签：