Amidst Covid scare begins Tokyo Olympics tomorrow

Tokyo: Tokyo Olympics is scheduled to begin 23 July after a year-long delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This is the first time that the Olympic Games have been postponed and rescheduled, rather than cancelled.Tokyo Olympics is scheduled to begin 23 July after a year-long delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This is the first time that the Olympic Games have been postponed and rescheduled, rather than cancelled.

Who will attend?

The opening ceremony of Tokyo Olympics 2021 will take place tomorrow at newly-built National Stadium in the Japanese capital while the closing ceremony will be held on 8 August at the same venue. Leaders from around 15 countries are expected to attend opening ceremony of Tokyo Olympics. Reports in Japan have suggested that those attending the ceremony in person could be as low as 1,000 due to the pandemic.

A total of of around 11,000 athletes from 206 countries are expected to participate in 33 sports in Tokyo Olympic. The mascot of Tokyo Olympics 2020 is named as Miratoiwa.

The medals for Tokyo Olympics 2021 are made from recycled electronics. 5,000 gold, silver, and bronze medals were made from recycled electronics sourced from all over Japan.

Less  is merrier, says India

Meanwhile, Archers, shooters, shuttlers and hockey players among others from the Indian contingent will not be attending the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony. While the hockey players won’t be present, men’s team skipper Manpreet Singh will be an exception as he is the flag bearer.

Around 50 people will attend the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics from the Indian side in view of the Covid-19 concerns in the Japanese capital.

Indian Olympic Association has almost decided to participate in the opening ceremony of Tokyo Olympics with 50 attendees, IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta said.

“We will try to limit the number of officials and athletes within 50 or 50 in the opening ceremony. The figure will be around 50.’ In the ceremony, India is at serial number 21 in the march past. The sequence of march past is as per the Japanese alphabet and only six officials can participate from each participating nation.”

Director fired over Holocaust comments

On the eve of the Tokyo Games, organisers fired the director of the opening ceremony over comments he made about the Holocaust, while media reported former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a memorable advocate for the Tokyo Games, would skip the showpiece event.

The news is the latest in a series of embarrassments for Tokyo organisers that have sparked outrage at home and abroad, and comes just days after a well known musician was forced to step down as composer for the ceremony after old reports of his bullying and abusive behaviour surfaced.

Abe, who famously dressed up as the titular plumber from video game Super Mario at the Rio Games to represent Japan, played an outsized role in attracting the Olympics to Tokyo.

In a speech in front a banquet room full of International Olympic Committee members in 2013 that the lingering nuclear disaster at Fukushima was under control and pitched his nation as a passionate, proud, and a strong believer in the Olympics.

At the time, Abe and his supporters hoped the Olympics would parallel the 1964 Tokyo Games heralding the nation’s revival after decades of economic stagnation and also mark its recovery from a devastating nuclear and natural disaster in 2011.

Instead, the Games, delayed a year because of the global pandemic, has faced a series of setbacks, including the exit of Yoshiro Mori, the former head of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee, who resigned after making sexist remarks. That was soon followed by the resignation of Tokyo Olympics creative head Hiroshi Sasaki after he made derogatory comments about a popular Japanese female entertainer.

The Tokyo 2020 organising committee said Kentaro Kobayashi, who is listed as a show director for the Games’ opening event, was fired after a joke he made about the Holocaust as part of his comedy act in 1998 resurfaced in domestic media.

Corona cases on a high

Covid-19 infections have jumped in the capital and are projected to spike further, straining healthcare providers.

In a recent poll in the Asahi newspaper, 68% of respondents expressed doubt about the ability of Olympic organisers to control coronavirus infections, with 55% saying they opposed the Games going ahead.

Olympics competition has already begun, with the Japanese women’s softball team getting the hosts off to a winning start on Wednesday, while the highly ranked US women’s soccer team were upset by Sweden.

The second day of softball began early Thursday under cloudy skies in Fukushima with the United States defeating Canada by a run to go 2-0 in the standings. Japan faces Mexico later.