The longest-serving member of the International Olympic Committee has expressed his personal view that he remains uncertain whether the postponed Tokyo Olympic Games will go ahead despite a state of emergency being declared in the greater Tokyo area over COVID-19.
The Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games were originally scheduled to take place in July and August last year. But they were postponed for one year due to the pandemic of coronavirus infection.
With less than 200 days until the events are due to open in Tokyo, Dick Pound told British public broadcaster the BBC on Thursday, "I can't be certain because the ongoing elephant in the room would be the surges in the virus."
Pound added that competitors should be high on the priority list in getting vaccinated. He suggested that organizers could make it a requirement for the athletes to declare they have been inoculated before entering Japan.
Pound has served on the IOC for over 40 years. He was quick to offer a cautious view last year on holding the 2020 Games as infections were spreading in Japan and around the world.
The state of emergency for Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures went into effect on Friday as coronavirus cases continue to surge. Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide told reporters after declaring the state of emergency that all possible measures will be taken to hold a safe and secure Games.
IOC President Thomas Bach has emphasized that the postponed events will go on as scheduled.