Headache of Olympian proportion
With barely a year to go, the fate of the Olympic Games is still hanging in the balance. Most of the qualifying meets for various disciplines are yet to be over. Training facilities in different countries are not fully operational, thus badly hurting the ambitions of young athletes who are dreaming of Olympic medals. Sponsors are contemplating backing out. Still, there is no decision on allowing officials of various Olympic associations and spectators from throughout the world. To make matters worse, Yoshiro Mori, the organising committee chief, has resigned after a sexist comment. So, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has to clear all these hurdles if it is really interested in fulfilling its commitment to hold the games in July-August, 2021.
The Tokyo Games was actually scheduled to be held in 2020. But as the Covid-19 pandemic was at its peak during that time, the games got postponed by a year. With the severity of Covid-19 pandemic going down, it was widely expected that the games would be held as per the new schedule without facing much difficulties, especially when sporting activities have begun in many parts of the world. Many sports lovers have taken these developments as a good omen for the forthcoming Olympics. They were mistaken as we still have not given enough attention towards a few impending problems. As a result, the problems are becoming complex with every passing day. Even public health experts are not in unison about holding the games. While a section is in favour of cancelling the games, the other section is of the opinion that the lethal virus is under control now; so the games should be organised.
Few things should be made clear here. Such an event, which is known as the ‘Greatest Show on the Earth’ cannot be organised overnight. When the Olympic Games got postponed last year, construction works for various sporting and residential facilities were at the final stages. Now, if the Olympic Games is to be arranged, all the pending works should be finished at least 90 days before the game starts. Is it possible for the organisers to finish all pending construction works within the stipulated time? Secondly, since the corona pandemic, no multi-discipline sporting event was held in any parts of the world. It makes few experts apprehensive about another spate of the disease with the influx of athletes and officials from all over the world in one place.
Some people are suggesting that in order to avoid such a scenario, all the athletes and officials can be vaccinated before coming to Tokyo. But what about the large number of spectators who will gather in the Japanese capital to witness the gala sporting event? Do we have enough doses of vaccines to prevent the disease from spreading? On the other hand, there will be huge financial loss if the Olympic Games are cancelled at this juncture. So, either way it is going to hurt. IOA bosses will have to use all their skills to get out of this catch-22 situation.