The danger of coronavirus can lead to the cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics this year.
The longest serving member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Dick Pound speculates that if conditions don’t improve then the games could run into the risk of getting cancelled.
In an exclusive interview with the The Associated Press, Pound said, “if it got to the point of not going ahead, you’re probably looking at a cancellation.”
Pound has been an IOC member since 1978 which is 13 years longer than current President Thomas Bach.
“You could certainly go to two months out if you had to,” Pound said, which would mean putting off a decision until late May and hoping the virus is under control.
“A lot of things have to start happening. You’ve got to start ramping up your security, your food, the Olympic Village, the hotels, The media folks will be in there building their studios.” Pound added.
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Though Pound estimates a three-month time period to analyse the threat in Tokyo, he considers the situation as tough.
”This is the new war and you have to face it. In and around that time, I’d say folks are going to have to ask: Is this under sufficient control that we can be confident about going to Tokyo, or not.” Pound said.
Threat of the life-threatening virus aside, Pound has encouraged the athletes to keep training for the event. Around 11,000 athletes are expected for the Olympics, and another 4,400 for the Paralympics which open on 25 August.
“As far as we all know you’re going to be in Tokyo all indications are at this stage that it will be business as usual. So keep focused on your sport and be sure that the IOC is not going to send you into a pandemic situation.” Pound remarked.
The Economic Times on 26 February reported that death toll because of coronavirus has climbed to 2,715. BBC in its report has said that several European countries have also announced their first coronavirus cases, with all appearing to be linked to the growing outbreak in Italy.
This could be the second occasion when the Olympic games to be staged in Tokyo could be called off. The 1940 Olympics were called off because of Japan’s war with China and World War II.