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Fully committed to start Tokyo Games on July 24: IOC chief

Thomas Bach

Tokyo, Feb 28 (UITV/IANS) With doubts raising over the Tokyo Olympic Games amid coronavirus outbreak, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach said the body is fully committed to make sure the tournament goes on as per schedule and turns out to be a successful event.

However, addressing Japanese media on Thursday, Bach said that at this point of time, he doesn't want to create any speculation and wants to reassure the athletes and to encourage them to go ahead with full steam with regard to their training and their preparations for the Tokyo Games.

"The official position of the IOC is that we are fully committed to the success of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and that we are already now doing everything to ensure not only the success off the Games, but also to ensure the qualification and the preparations of the athletes of the world, because the safety of every participant at the Olympic Games, be it athlete, official, spectator, is the top priority for the IOC and also for the Organising Committee Tokyo 2020," he said.

Senior IOC member Dick Pound recently said that if it proves too dangerous to hold the Olympics in Tokyo because of the coronavirus outbreak, organisers are likely to cancel it altogether than to postpone or move it.

"I think the facts speak for themselves, and we should also not forget that Dick Pound also said that the IOC is fully committed to have the opening ceremony there on July 24 in Tokyo," said Bach when asked to respond on Pound's statement.

"What it is now, is to ensure the qualification procedure and protecting the safety of the athletes at the same time. This is what we are doing in cooperation with the Japanese authorities, with the World Health Organisation, also in cooperation with the Chinese Olympic Committee and the authorities and with many NOCs.

The IOC Chief further said that the Japanese authorities are taking very important measures to make sure the Games start on time and that there's no difficulty for the athletes as well as the spectators.

"This determination by Japan and this great solidarity by the sports movement and beyond the sports movement puts us in a position again to say we are continuing our preparations for these are successful Games as planned."

The Tokyo Olympic Games are scheduled to be held from July 24 to August 9.