Challenges and opportunities are unprecedented for Tokyo Olympics, says IOC President

Thomas Bach arrived in Japan on Thursday, as Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihde Suga was set to declare a state of emergency that resulted in a ban on fans from the Tokyo Olympics.

Published: 09th July 2021 12:41 PM  |   Last Updated: 09th July 2021 12:41 PM   |  A+A-

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach (on-screen) and Tokyo 2020 president Seiko Hashimoto, left, wave at the beginning of the five-party meeting in Tokyo

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach (on-screen) and Tokyo 2020 president Seiko Hashimoto, left, wave at the beginning of the five-party meeting in Tokyo (Photo | AP)


TOKYO: The President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, said that challenges and opportunities are unprecedented for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

Thomas Bach arrived in Japan on Thursday via a regular scheduled flight from Frankfurt (Germany) and touched down at Haneda airport at noon. The IOC President is fully vaccinated and, just like all Games participants, will follow the Playbook guidelines to ensure that the Games are safe and secure this summer.

As per the rules, President Bach took the obligatory COVID-19 test at Haneda airport and waited there for his negative test result before travelling to his hotel, where he arrived in the afternoon. As per the release upon his arrival, the President said: "Finally, we are here. This is the moment we have been longing for such a long time. Now I feel like an athlete in the call room."

He went on to speak about the challenges of hosting the postponed Olympic Games: "Certainly the challenges are unprecedented, but also the opportunities are unprecedented. The first priority is to make these Games safe for everybody, and there we are on the right track. We know this from all the measures and all the experts' advice we have been getting. And then it's the moment for the athletes to shine and this will be a very special moment under these circumstances, to get all the world together and send this message from Japan to the world."

Henceforth, the IOC President will work remotely only. In the evening, he led the Five-Party meeting with the IOC, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Government of Japan, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. After this meeting, it was announced that the upcoming Tokyo Olympics will be held without spectators.

Bach's official programme of in-person and remote meetings with arriving delegations, Games stakeholders, and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee will commence only on 12 July. His destinations are registered, and his activities will be conducted in accordance with the strict rules set out in the Playbooks. A visit to Hiroshima on 16 July to mark the start of the Olympic Truce is currently being arranged for President Bach.

The IOC Executive Board meeting will then take place in Tokyo on 17 and 18 July, followed by the 138th IOC Session on 20 July.


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