Tokyo Olympics organisers to cut back on athletes at opening, closing ceremonies

Organisers said they would also reconsider how many athletes can take part in the ceremonies, and how to get them into the stadium safely.

Agence France-Presse January 18, 2021 11:14:56 IST
Tokyo Olympics organisers to cut back on athletes at opening, closing ceremonies

The Olympic rings are seen in front of the Rainbow Bridge in Tokyo. AP Photo

Tokyo: Tokyo Olympics organisers said on Monday they will slash the number of athletes at the opening and closing ceremonies of this year's coronavirus -delayed Games, as a report said thousands fewer will attend.

More than 11,000 athletes are expected to compete at the Tokyo Games, but anti-virus measures limiting the time they can spend in the Olympic Village mean not all will be able to attend the opening and closing festivities.

Organisers said they would also "reconsider" how many athletes can take part in the ceremonies, and how to get them into the stadium safely.

"In order to ensure the safety and security of the athletes and simplify operations at the Tokyo 2020 Games, we believe it is necessary to reconsider the number of participants at the opening and closing ceremonies and how they will enter the stadium," the organising committee said in a statement.

A report in Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper on Monday said the International Olympic Committee expects only 6,000 athletes to take part in the 23 July opening ceremony, citing unidentified sources.

Tokyo 2020 organisers said the details are still being worked out in discussions with the IOC and other organisations, and "a specific approach has not been decided yet".

'Anything can happen'

The organising committee has insisted the Games can go ahead even if the virus has not been brought under control, and unveiled a raft of anti-virus measures in a 53-page interim report in December.

Athletes cannot check in to the Olympic Village – which can accommodate 18,000 people – more than five days before their event, and must leave two days after finishing their competition.

A surge in infections in Japan and elsewhere around the world has cast fresh doubt over the Games, just over six months before the opening ceremony.

A Japanese cabinet minister last week admitted "anything can happen" with the Games, while reports at the weekend said a former IOC vice-president suggested the United Nations could be consulted on whether the event should go ahead.

Public support for the Games has plummeted in Japan, with a poll earlier this month finding that more than 80 percent believe the event should be cancelled or postponed again.

Japanese government spokesman Katsunobu Kato said Monday that Japan is committed to holding the Games as scheduled.

"There is no change in the government's stance on the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics," he said.

"The people in charge of the Games are united in preparing for them to be a success and the government will take appropriate measures to support them."

In late December, Tokyo 2020 chiefs picked a new creative director to redesign "simpler and more restrained" opening and closing ceremonies.

Organisers said the decision to replace a previous seven-person creative team would improve efficiency and reshape the traditionally lavish ceremonies to be "in tune with the situation".

Updated Date:

Subscribe to Moneycontrol Pro at ₹499 for the first year. Use code PRO499. Limited period offer. *T&C apply

also read

Tokyo Olympics 2020: Badminton qualification period for Games extended to 15 June
Sports

Tokyo Olympics 2020: Badminton qualification period for Games extended to 15 June

The development came after the BWF decided to postpone two tournaments in Malaysia and Singapore Open from their earlier scheduled dates.

Tokyo Olympics 2020: Japan begins COVID-19 vaccination drive amid Summer Games worries
Sports

Tokyo Olympics 2020: Japan begins COVID-19 vaccination drive amid Summer Games worries

The fate of the Tokyo Olympics and the billions of dollars at stake should the Games fail, makes Japan's vaccine campaign crucial.

Tokyo Olympics 2020: What athletes can expect in quarantine in Games-host Japan
Sports

Tokyo Olympics 2020: What athletes can expect in quarantine in Games-host Japan

Here's a look at the strict entry protocols for the current handful of travellers coming into Japan, and what could happen with athletes during the Olympic Games.