The International Olympic Committee (IOC) vice president John Coates has said that the postponed Summer Games in Tokyo will take place next summer regardless of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Coates, who heads the IOC’s Coordination Commission for the Tokyo Games, noted that the highly anticipated summer sports spectacle will kick off on July 23 in 2021 adding that there will be no more delay or postponement.
READ MORE: ‘The consequences could be severe’: American athletes may be barred from Olympics after US threatens to withhold WADA cash
“It will take place with or without COVID,” said Coates stressing that this will be the Olympics that “conquered” the dangerous virus.
“The games were going to be, their theme, the Reconstruction Games after the devastation of the tsunami,” he said, referring to the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck the Tohoku region in 2011.
“Now very much these will be the games that conquered COVID, the light at the end of the tunnel,” Coates added.
Japan and the IOC agreed to postpone the Tokyo Games scheduled for this summer until 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The Games are expected to undergo a simplification process that will strip down some elements of the events to help maintain athletes’ safety.
Organizers say that it’s their aim to hold events in front of spectators, however, there is the possibility of allowing just Japanese fans to attend if the coronavirus remains a threat next year.
More than 11,000 athletes representing 200 countries were scheduled to participate in the 2020 Games.
It remains unknown whether Japan will lift travel restrictions for participants, as international borders are still largely closed for foreign visitors.