Tokyo Olympics will go ahead ‘safely and securely’, says Sebastian Coe

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe remains confident the Tokyo 2020 Olympics can be held “safely and securely” despite mounting calls for the Games to be cancelled.

Japan is currently is in a state of emergency as it battles a fourth wave of coronavirus with experts warning of increasing pressure on the country’s healthcare system.

Japan reported 6,359 daily cases on Sunday 16 May and its current death toll sits just below 11,500. That figure is lower than other nations, however, the government is facing criticism over the pace of its vaccine rollout.

A poll conducted by Asahi Shimbun last weekend revealed that only 14 per cent out of 3,191 people wanted the Games to be held on schedule this summer, with 43 per cent favouring a complete cancellation.

Asked about the practicality of persevering with the Games, Coe told CNN: “Should we have the Games? Yes, we should. Can we have them safely and secure? I believe we can. I’m not cavalier about that. But I do think there are systems that are now tried and tested… I’m confident they will be taking place; everyone is determined to do that.

“It is important that, if it is at all possible – and I genuinely believe it is – to deliver the games in a safe and secure way, we should be able to do that. The judgement is ultimately going to sit with the International Olympic Committee and government and all the stakeholders involved.”

International spectators have already been barred from attending and Coe conceded the experience for athletes will be somewhat “sterile”.

“I think we have to accept that,” he said. “Their day will almost certainly be village to venue, venue back to village and maybe training tracks in between. There is going to be no sightseeing, there are going to be no karaoke bars. I mean, the serious athletes would not be looking for that anyway, but it’s going to be tough.”

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