Tuesday 20 July 2021 2:50 pm

Tokyo 2020 Olympics could still be cancelled, says Games chief

Tokyo 2020 Olympics chiefs say they have have not ruled out cancelling the Games at the last minute.

With just three days until the opening ceremony, the head of the Tokyo Organising Committee, Toshiro Muto, said a late U-turn remained an option.

Covid-19 cases have already hit the athletes’ village and continue to rise in the city and across Japan.

“We can’t predict what will happen with the number of coronavirus cases so we will continue discussions if there is a spike in cases,” said Muto.

“At this point, the coronavirus cases may rise or fall, so we will think about what we should do when the situation arises.”

New Covid cases in Tokyo have been above 1,000 a day for five days. More than 70 Games-related personnel have tested positive since July 1, including three athletes in the Olympic Village.

Most Japanese oppose holding the Games in this climate, latest newspaper polls show.

Earlier, the president of the Internatioanl Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, insisted cancelling the Tokyo 2020 Games had never been an option.

“Cancellation would have been the easy way for us. We could have drawn on the insurance that we had at the time and moved on to Paris 2024,” said Bach.

“But in fact, cancellation was never an option for us. The IOC never abandons the athletes.

“Imagine what it would have meant if the leader of the Olympic movement, the IOC, had added to the already many doubts surrounding the Olympic Games. It would have poured fuel on to this fire.

“Our doubts could have become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The Olympic Games could have fallen to pieces. That is why we had to keep these doubts to ourselves.”

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics were due to take place last year but postponed due to the pandemic.