TOKYO (Reuters) – IOC President Thomas Bach sounded an optimistic note on Thursday about holding the Tokyo Olympics next year, taking heart from the recent resumption of major sports events and progress in novel coronavirus vaccine development.
“We can see that sport is coming back slowly but surely …. which shows to us, shows to the world that we can organise safe sports events even without a vaccine,” Bach told a meeting of IOC representatives and Japanese officials and organisers.
The opening of the online meeting was open to the media.
The Tokyo Olympics, originally scheduled for this summer, were postponed for a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The virus has maintained its global spread in recent months, casting a shadow over the viability of the postponed Games but Bach was optimistic about efforts to fight it.
“We also have very encouraging news about the development of vaccines,” he said.
Bach and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga spoke by telephone on Wednesday and agreed to cooperate closely to stage a safe and secure Games for athletes and spectators.
“We are sitting together in one boat. The only thing we have to do now is to row in the same direction,” Bach told the meeting, in which Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, Olympics Minister Seiko Hashimoto and other officials participated.
(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka, Sakura Murakami; Editing by Robert Birsel)