No international supporters will be allowed to attend the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo, which were postponed this summer over fears of a coronavirus pandemic.
The Japanese authorities have informed the Olympic Committee and Paralympic Committee that participation is unlikely to be guaranteed.
Organizers said the decision provides clarity for ticket holders and ensures the safety of the games for all participants and the Japanese public.
The games will be played on the 23rd. Early July.
The Paralympics follow a month later, starting on the 24th. August, at the Olympics.
Organizers said the difficult situation of the Covid 19 virus in Japan and many other countries, travel restrictions around the world and the emergence of variants of the virus led to this decision and that ticket holders will be refunded.
The Olympics were postponed for a year last March due to the increasing spread of the coronavirus around the world.
Difficult decisions must be made
For the first time in the history of the race, more than 11,000 athletes from around 200 countries will participate in the 2020 edition.
Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, said the move was a big sacrifice for everyone.
We share the disappointment of all the enthusiastic Olympic fans around the world and of course the families and friends of the athletes who were planning to attend the Games, he said. I’m really sorry about that.
Any solution must first of all take account of the principle of safety. I know that our Japanese partners and friends have not come to this conclusion lightly.
We fully support our Japanese partners and friends to make the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games a great success.
International Paralympic Committee president Andrew Parsons said difficult decisions must be made first and foremost for safety reasons.
It goes without saying that in an ideal world we would prefer international spectators at the Games, he said.
At this point, however, we must recognize that we do not live in a perfect world because of the global pandemic.
Very sad news – reaction.
The British Olympic Association said that while the situation was very disappointing, it stressed its determination to hold a safe event in the event of a pandemic.
This is very sad news, not only for the British fans, but especially for the family and friends of the athletes, continued the BoA statement.
The exclusion of international fans was another financial blow to the Tokyo Games.
The cost of the Games has increased by $2.8bn (£2.1bn) as a result of the measures needed to prevent the spread of Covid-19, but organisers have always ruled out the possibility of postponement.
Earlier this year, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said the games would be safe and could serve as a symbol of global solidarity.
However, an opinion poll conducted by public broadcaster NHK at the time found that a majority of the Japanese public was opposed to hosting the Games in 2021 and favored further postponement or the complete cancellation of the Games.
Japan is also grappling with problems unrelated to the pandemic, such as the resignation of Yoshiro Mori, the head of Tokyo’s Olympic Organizing Committee, after he was criticized for inappropriate comments about women.
The creative director of the Tokyo games has also resigned after offering to have an actress perform at the Olympic opening ceremony.
A dream of nearly 40 years – ticketed fans talk to Sport.
Alex Blaney said it was a sad day and that he was devastated that he could not help his 74-year-old father achieve his long-held goal.
When I was seven years old in 1984, we were watching Daley Thompson jump high and my dad turned to me and said he would love to go to an overseas Olympics, Blaney says.
I remember his dream for almost 40 years. We have 30 tickets for everyone to make the dream come true. This was probably our last chance as he now has dementia. We might go to Paris [for the 2024 Olympics], but it won’t be the same.
Jill Ludlow said her husband and son, who received the tickets as a birthday present, would be going on the trip of a lifetime, but that they fully understand the decision.
Philip Davis booked his tickets for 2019 even before the news about Covid came out, and said the announcement was no surprise, although he tried to remain positive and hopeful.
Personally, I was a little nervous, but I would have liked to go anyway, he said. But I’ll definitely be watching from home.
Hannah Chambers, who had planned to come with her boyfriend and hopes to see a friend compete in Tokyo, said: It’s disappointing, but understandable given the world is in turmoil.
John Riggs said planning will begin in Paris after the announcement, adding: We understand that there are more important things going on in the world right now, as there probably always are, but you’re still left disappointed.
For Deja Mahoney, these will be the first games he has missed since 1992.
Watching Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt win eight gold medals over the years, he said he would enjoy the memories and not outdo himself.
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