Italian Olympic Committee head Giovanni Malago states Tokyo Olympics could begin in July 2021
CONI president Giovanni Malago made his comments in an interview with state broadcaster RAI, supporting a Japanese media report on Sunday that also suggested 23 July as the start date
Rome: The head of Italy’s Olympic Committee (CONI) believes that the Tokyo Games, postponed by a year because of a coronavirus pandemic, will start on 23 July, 2021, he said in a television interview.
The games were originally set to start on 24 July this year, but were postponed last Tuesday, when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced a delay of about a year after a telephone call with International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach.
CONI president Giovanni Malago’s comments, in an interview with state broadcaster RAI, supported a Japanese media report on Sunday that also suggested 23 July as the start date.
“I have an idea, and maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think so, because I’ve talked to so many friends, “ said Malago, who is an IOC member.
“I think that within a short time the IOC will come out with the date of 23 July, 2021, maintaining in fact the same window foreseen this year.”
Malago said the late July start would avoid a clash with the Euro 2020 football championship, which has also been postponed for one year and will now run from 11 June to 11 July.
“There would also be the possibility of bringing forward the Olympics by one or two months,” Malago added. “The IOC is in contact with all international federations to find the best solution, given all the events on the calendar in 2021.
“Perhaps some athletes would have preferred the Games to be brought forward to the spring but 23 July, 2021 is the solution that creates fewer problems for the calendar in a year very full of commitments, such as the European Football Championship.”
In Japan, the president of the Tokyo Olympics organising committee, Yoshiro Mori, said on Monday a decision on a new date could come as early as this week.
Olympic and Japanese officials have staunchly defended the Games, which are being held in a strict biosecure "bubble" with daily testing. Eighty percent of athletes at the Games have been vaccinated.
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