Sunday, May 19, 2024

‘No certainties’ Tokyo Olympics to take place. Could hockey ‘think outside the box’?

By Richard Bright

A survey has revealed how more than half of Japanese companies are opposed to the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics taking place next summer.

It comes as Lord Coe, the World Athletics president, said there are “no certainties” that the rearranged Tokyo Games will go ahead as planned. With the slated Games still in limbo, a full postponement would also leave hockey with no fully global tournament.

In the survey of 13,000 companies by Tokyo Shoko Research, 27.8 per cent said they wanted the Tokyo Games to be cancelled while 25.8 per cent said the sporting showpiece should be postponed again.

The survey found that nearly 23 per cent were in favour of holding the Olympics as scheduled, 18.4 per cent prefered the event to be held but with fewer spectators and 5.3 per cent without any spectators.

Japan has seen a surge of infection cases recently. More than 60,000 coronavirus infections have been reported in the nation, while the Tokyo government has raised its pandemic alert to level four, meaning that “infections are spreading.”

Meanwhile Coe told Radio 4’s Today programme that he was not not in favour of competing behind closed doors. However he said: “I genuinely hope we are in a position to deliver the Games.”

He said: “The Olympic Games behind closed doors doesn’t fill me full of joy, but we may have to accept that. This is a pandemic with us for many months.”

He added that “there are no certainties – we may have to think out of the box about how we might create other types of events”.

A void in the calendar would leave hockey with just the EuroHockey in Amsterdam shortly after the proposed Tokyo Games. 2021 is set to kick off with the Indoor World Cup in Liège, Belgium in early February.

On a global scale outdoors, only the FIH Pro League is set to take place. But this only features the top nations in the world, with those nations who earned the right to compete in Tokyo left without any competitive tournament.

Could hockey think outside the box too?

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