Tokyo coronavirus fears: Olympic Committee member says Games won’t be cancelled
The organisers of the Tokyo Marathon have taken the extraordinary step of restricting the event to professionals due to fears around the spread of the novel coronavirus, know officially known as COVID-19.
All 38,000 recreational runners who had signed up for the March 1 event will no longer be able to run.
The move has prompted fears the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, set to begin in July, could also be cancelled.
But International Olympic Committee member Kevan Gosper has quashed those fears, saying cancelling the Games would be incredibly difficult.
“My judgement is that the Games will go ahead, and this is not to understate the seriousness of the issue,” he told 3AW’s Tom Elliott.
“It’s a huge operation that’s put in place over years, with investments, commitments by TV stations, program spaces on the agenda for world sport.”
Mr Gosper said it’s fortunate the Games are being held in Japan this year, and not in a country which is ill-equipped to deal with the virus outbreak.
“I believe that if ever you were going into a Games with the uncertainties of the coronavirus we’re best placed with Japan,” he said.
“We’ll take care to keep in touch with the World Health Organisation but I come back to the fact we’re not dealing with inexperienced, naive people in Japan.”
There have been 62 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Japan and one fatality, as well as another 456 confirmed cases aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship off the coast of Yokohama.
The Olympics have never been moved, but they were cancelled during World War II.
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Image (background): The Asahi Shimbun