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COVID-19: Coronavirus in China not Tokyo, Rijiju backs Tokyo Olympics to go ahead

Sports Lounge Staff



Kiren Rijiju

New Delhi: Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Thursday said he expects this year’s Tokyo Olympics to go ahead smoothly despite fears being expressed over the fate of the Games amid the novel coronavirus threat.

The Olympic Games are scheduled to be held in July-August this year but a senior IOC member Dick Pound has said that the event might have to be cancelled if the deadly coronavirus outbreak is not brought under control by May.

“Virus China mein hai, Tokyo mein Nahi (the virus is in China not Tokyo),” Rijiju said in response to questions about the Games on the sidelines of a workshop to sensitise Indian athletes about Japanese etiquette and culture here.

Rijiju said the current situation demands that nations come together to fight the crisis.

“We have to fight every situation together. I expect Tokyo Olympics to start July 24 on time and go ahead smoothly,” he said.

“World is a community, we have to support each other,” he added.

The coronavirus, which was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has so far claimed over 2,000 lives.

According to media reports, more than 180 people in Japan have contracted the virus and three have died because of it.

The Tokyo organisers have repeatedly asserted that there is no threat to the Games at this point.

Talking about India’s preparations for the Olympics, Rijiju said none of the logistical mistakes made in Rio 2016 would be allowed to repeat.

“There were some management issues in 2016 but we will ensure none of it happens again. It is important to ensure mental well being of the athletes,” he said, without going into the specifics.

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