The cancellation or postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games due to the Coronavirus outbreak is “not being considered”, according to officials.
The 2020 Games chief Toshiro Muto told a press conference in the Japanese capital: “I want to again state clearly that cancellation or postponement of the Tokyo Games has not been considered.”
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This reassurance follows a previously nervy announcement were Muto said they were “extremely worried in the sense that the spread of the infectious virus could pour cold water on momentum for the Games”.
The Chinese Grand Prix set, to take place in April in Shanghai, was recently cancelled, as was Nanjing’s hosting of the World Indoor Athletics Championships.
International Olympic Committee member John Coates said he was wanted to hear how the Japanese government and World Health Organisation would “ensure that all of the athletes, and all of the people who come to Japan for the Games, are not going to be affected and that all the necessary precautions are being taken”.
The Coronavirus has currently claimed 1,350 lives in China, with infections totalling 60,000.
The Tokyo Olympics are due to begin on July 24, with the men’s and women’s cycling road races taking place on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26, respectively. Track events will then follow in the Izu Velodrome from Monday August 3 to Sunday August 9.
With the men’s road race taking place less than a week after the Tour de France finishes on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, many riders will miss the French Grand Tour to better their chances of Olympic victory.
Romain Bardet and Vincenzo Nibali are two Tour stalwarts who will instead ride the Giro d’Italia as their main Grand Tour focus for 2020 in order to give them time to prepare and arrive in Tokyo with fresh legs, their eyes set on the gold medal.