IOC member and IOA president Narinder Batra on Saturday said that the postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympics will “definitely” be held next year, amid concerns over staging the mega event before a COVID-19 vaccine is found.
Some eminent scientists and doctors have expressed doubts on the holding of the Tokyo Olympics if a vaccine is not found by then. Even the Japan Medical Association president said it would only be possible for the Olympics to go ahead in July 2021 if the infections were under control, not only in Japan, but globally.
International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) coordination commission for the Tokyo Olympics, John Coates of Australia had, however, disagreed with suggestions that a vaccine for COVID-19 is needed to hold the Games.
While addressing the Special General Body Meeting of the Athletics Federation of India, which was held online, Indian Olympic Association (IOA) chief Batra said: “Don’t go by what is being said that Olympics may not be held next year. Tokyo Olympics will definitely be held next year.
“I am keeping in touch with reliable sources, interacting with important forums in the world of sport. So, Olympics is happening next year.
“I believe there will be some treatment (of coronavirus) by September or October this year. We (India) have to plan ourselves thinking that Olympics will be held.”
Batra was elected as president of International Hockey Federation (FIH) in November 2016 and became an IOC member in June last year. He has been at the helm of IOA since December 2017.
He said his tenure as FIH chief has been extended till June next year as the elections scheduled to be held in October this year has been postponed to June next year in view of the unprecedented situation arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Batra also said some 140-odd National Olympic Committees were to hold their elections within two-three months of the original (2020) date of Tokyo Olympics and they have been allowed by the IOC to hold the polls next year.
Push for athletes’ outdoor training
Batra said on Saturday that he will again request the government to allow national campers undergo outdoor training inside the country’s major sports centres during the coronavirus-forced lockdown.
Batra said the IOA had earlier requested the government in this regard but was not successful in eliciting a positive response. Some athletes at the NIS-Patiala had also written to the Sports Ministry to allow outdoor training by observing social distancing guidelines.
“We have made some efforts trying to convince MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) to allow the athletes to train outdoors with all the social distancing guidelines. The campers at the NIS, at Bengaluru SAI Centre and SAI Kolkata have not been able to have outdoor training,” Batra said.
“I don’t know whether they will be allowed in the next two weeks of lockdown. But I am once again trying on Sunday with the government,” he said while addressing onine the Special General Body Meeting of Athletics Federation of India.
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