IOC member and IOA president Narinder Batra on Saturday said that the postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympics will “definitely” be held next year, amid concerns over staging the mega event before a COVID-19 vaccine is found.
Some eminent scientists and doctors have expressed doubts about the holding of the Tokyo Olympics if a vaccine is not found by then. Even the Japan Medical Association president said it would only be possible for the Olympics to go ahead in July 2021 if the infections were under control, not only in Japan but globally.
International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) coordination commission for the Tokyo Olympics, John Coates of Australia had, however, disagreed with suggestions that a vaccine for COVID-19 is needed to hold the Games.
While addressing the Special General Body Meeting of the Athletics Federation of India, which was held online, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) chief Batra said, “Don’t go by what is being said that Olympics may not be held next year. Tokyo Olympics will definitely be held next year.
“I am keeping in touch with reliable sources, interacting with important fora in the world of sport. So, the Olympics are happening next year.
“I believe there will be some treatment (of coronavirus) by September or October this year. We (India) have to plan ourselves thinking that the Olympics will be held.”
Batra was elected as president of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) in November 2016 and became an IOC member in June last year. He has been at the helm of IOA since December 2017.
He said his tenure as FIH chief has been extended till June next year as the elections scheduled to be held in October this year has been postponed to June next year in view of the unprecedented situation arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Batra also said some 140-odd National Olympic Committees were to hold their elections within two-three months of the original (2020) date of Tokyo Olympics and they have been allowed by the IOC to hold the polls next year.