Bach: Vaccines won’t be ‘silver bullet’ for staging Olympics

IOC president Thomas Bach declines to speculate on the Tokyo Olympics being held without fans in the venues.

IOC president Thomas Bach holds the IOC Executive Board Meeting at Olympic House, in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Wednesday.   -  REUTERS

Amid uncertainty about planning the Tokyo Olympics, IOC president Thomas Bach said that progress with vaccines and rapid testing for COVID-19 would not be the complete answer for staging the rescheduled games.

They will not be the silver bullet but they can greatly facilitate the organisation of the games, Bach said at a news conference after an International Olympic Committee board meeting. While the Japanese public has been skeptical about the July 23-August 8 games going ahead, Olympic Minister Seiko Hashimoto said this week, “I feel we have to hold them no matter what.”

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Bach declined on Wednesday to speculate on the Tokyo Olympics being held without fans in the venues as has become the global reality for sports in 2020. “We don’t know how the world looks like tomorrow,” Bach said.

“So how can you expect from us to know how the world looks in 320 days from today?”

‘Have to show solidarity’

He asked athletes to accept any demands made of them in travelling to and staying in Japan next year. “Nobody can just look at him or herself and say ‘I do not want this’ or ‘I don’t think this is fair.’ You have to show solidarity there in order to fight the virus,” Bach said.

“If you need a quarantine to ensure a safe environment for all the participants of the games, then you need to go to quarantine.”