As the president of the International Olympic Committee attempts to reassure the Japanese public, he copped a brutal call regarding the victims of the Hiroshima atomic bomb.
International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach has reassured the Japanese public that the Tokyo Olympics are the “best ever prepared’’ and said people should be confident in the intensive and the “most strict” Covid counter measures in place.
The organisers have also had a tick of approval from Australian Olyroos coach Graham Arnold, who lauded the extreme efforts being made “to reconnect the world”.
Mr Arnold organised for his young football team to arrive early for a three week acclimatisation to the high humidity and heat of a Japan summer – after having previously played and coached in the country.
Mr Arnold said: “It is tough everywhere in the world but the Japanese government, the IOC, the Australian Olympic Committee and the Japanese Olympic committee are doing a great job of making sure this Olympics still goes ahead because the world has gone through a real tough 18 months.
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“You will have seen how much energy Wimbledon and the Euros have brought back to people’s lives, being able to watch sport, and I truly believe that with the Olympics on it can really connect the world.
“The world has been separated. Every country is separated by every other country at the moment, to these Olympics going ahead with countries all around the world participating is a great way to reconnect. Let’s reconnect the world and then everyone can get back to their lives.’’
Mr Bach arrived in Tokyo last Thursday to some vocal local protests, including a call from a Hiromshima community group for him to abandon a visit on Friday to the city because it would ‘dishonour the victims’ of the atomic bomb.
Tuesday’s arrival at the headquarters of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee was Mr Bach’s first in person meeting with chief Seiko Hashimoto after being released from quarantine ahead of the Games opening ceremony on July 23.
In comments made before the meeting began behind closed doors, Mr Bach said: ”The Japanese people can have confidence in all the efforts we are undertaking to make these games for them secure and safe, with all the intensive, most strict Covid countermeasures.”
He added: ”Now it is 10 days to the opening, that also means there is still a lot of work to do. ”Our task is only completed once the athletes have left Tokyo.
“Today the Village is opening and the athletes are entering it.
“I think we also feel like athletes … we have done and you have done a fantastic job in preparing for the Games.
“You can be confident that the stage is set but now the task is to perform, to deliver and show your best of what you have been preparing for such a long time.
“Let’s continue to work like, and for, athletes to make the Games a resounding success for Japan, for Tokyo and for the entire Olympic Movement.”
However Tokyo organisers then blamed Covid for refusing to allow cameras and the media to record the opening of the Olympic village. They also said they were unable to provide details about which athletes had moved in.
Under the countermeasures, detailed in the Olympic playbooks, athletes are only allowed to move into the village five days before their competition and must depart two days after they have finished. Around 80 per cent of athletes and support staff have been vaccinated, and people involved in the Games are subject to a rigorous pre-arrival schedule of tests, as well as daily testing on the Olympic site. Movement of athletes and officials are carefully monitored and they have been threatened with deportation to ensure they only travel on approved transport between the Olympic village and venues.
Any visits to local restaurants or tourist sites is strictly banned.
So far an Ugandan coach and a boxer have tested positive to the delta variant upon arrival in Japan.
A small contingent of Australian athletes are already in Japan training for the Games, including the Olyroos, some gymnasts, the softball team and some sailors. The rest of the 474 strong Australian team will arrive on a series of charter flights.
Protester’s dark Hiroshima threat to Olympic boss