Olympics: Tokyo chief refuses to rule out last-minute cancellation
COVID-19 cases growing in Tokyo and the Olympic village
The Tokyo Olympic Games are still not yet certain to go ahead, with the organisers refusing to rule out a last-minute cancellation.
Many riders have already arrived in Tokyo ahead for the rescheduled 2020 Games, with the men's and women's road races set to take place this weekend following Friday's opening ceremony.
However, with COVID-19 cases still rising in Tokyo, the event organisers have expressed ongoing concerns over the pandemic, with most events already having to be held behind closed doors.
On Tuesday, during a press conference, the head of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee, Toshiro Muto was reportedly asked if the Games could yet be cancelled, and he refused to say no.
"We can't predict what will happen with the number of coronavirus cases. So we will continue discussions if there is a spike in cases," he said, according to Sky Sports.
"We have agreed that based on the coronavirus situation, we will convene five-party talks again. At this point, the coronavirus cases may rise or fall, so we will think about what we should do when the situation arises."
Despite the uncertainty, International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach insisted that "cancellation was never an option".
Aside from the pandemic situation in the general public in Tokyo, which is still under a state of emergency, there have already been number of COVID-19 cases in the Olympic village.
According to the latest figures released by the organisers on Monday, 59 positives had been recorded since July 1 in the Olympic bubble of more than 20,000 people, ranging from athletes and coaches to media and those working for the organisation.
Despite the stringent testing before departure and after arrival in Tokyo, IOC official Christophe Dubi said "it is inevitable that there will be cases" but insisted "everything is in place to limit mixing and keep the risk to a minimum".
The men's road race takes place on Saturday and the women's on Sunday, with the time trials held the following Wednesday. The mountain bike races take place on Monday July 26 and Tuesday July 27, while the track events are scheduled from August 2-8.
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By Josh Croxton