Hockey is still on track to have two major tournaments staged in two months after Japan’s prime minister insisted the rescheduled 2020 Olympics would still go ahead despite a surge in coronavirus cases.
EuroHockey 2021 is set to be held in Amstelveen between June 4-13 before the hockey events in Tokyo are planned to start on July 24.
Covid cases have risen sharply in Japan after Tokyo reported more than 1,000 daily infections for the first time. Yuriko Koike, the Tokyo governor, warned that the number of infections could now “explode” due to the new virus variant.
However Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga admitted the “Games will be this summer,” and would be safe and secure. He also added that the event could be a “symbol of global solidarity”.
A poll by national broadcaster NHK last month revealed that the majority of the Japanese general public opposed holding the Games in the summer.
The poll showed 63 per cent of respondents said the Olympics should be postponed again or cancelled. Only 27 per cent said they should take place.
Japan is slated to begin vaccinating the public in February at the earliest. March is when 10,000 runners are set to start carrying the Olympic torch to every part of the country.