The International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has stated that relocating the postponed Olympic and Paralympic Games to another city “is not possible” following reports that Florida has offered to host if Tokyo backs out due to the coronavirus pandemic. Speaking to 200 journalists during a virtual press conference on Wednesday after an IOC Executive Board meeting, which focused largely on preparations for Tokyo 2020, Bach reiterated the IOC’s commitment towards the delivery of a “successful and safe” Games in Tokyo, adding that the many speculations about whether or not the Games will go ahead have only been hurtful. “Nobody at this moment can predict the health situation in the 206 National Olympic Committees for the time of the Olympic and Paralympic Games from late July until September of this year, not even the most prominent scientists in this area. This leads naturally, you may also say, unfortunately, to many speculations. But all these speculations are hurting the athletes in their preparations, Sports who already have to overcome the challenges in their daily training and competition with all the restrictions they are facing, either in their country or when it comes to traveling. “So there is a speculation about cancellation, about a plan B, about everything.
Some even make the proposal to postpone the Olympic Games in Tokyo to the year 2032. I want to say good luck if you want to discuss this with an athlete that is preparing for the Olympic Games 2021. “There are some proposals to move it to another city, which for everybody who knows about the complexity of the Olympic Games is not possible during such a short period of time. “For all these reasons, we are not losing our time and energy on speculations, but we are fully concentrating on the Opening Ceremony of the 23rd of July this year. “We are not speculating whether the Games are taking place. We are working on how the Games will take place.” On January 25, Florida’s chief financial officer Jimmy Patronis shared on Twitter that he had sent a letter to the IOC, “pitching” Florida as a potential replacement host for Tokyo 2020. “With media reports of leaders in Japan ‘privately’ concluding that they are too concerned about the pandemic for the 2021 Olympics to take place, there is still time to deploy a site selection team to Florida,” he said. Bach, however, said he had not received such letter.
The IOC President said in the last couple of days he had consultation calls with the International Federations, the National Olympic Committees and got reports from the athletes representatives, who all gave assurances of their commitment to Tokyo 2020. “All 206 NOCs, all the IFs and the athletes are standing behind these Olympic Games,” Bach reckoned. “The same commitment we see on the Japanese side with the Japanese Government, the Organising Committee and the Japanese Olympic Committee.” Bach highlighted that COVID-19 countermeasures for multiple scenarios have been put together for Tokyo 2020, but “it is too early” to say which of them would be appropriate for the Games. The first version of the “playbooks”, which will explain the measures for the different stakeholder groups, would be available early next month. The playbooks will be updated constantly.
Sports festival: No FG support, no games -Obaseki warns
The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has said the state is ready to host the National Sports Festival but expressed fear of lack of funds to host 11,500 athletes and officials at the 20th edition of the sports meet which is billed to run from February 14-28 in Benin. Obaseki who spoke at a meeting with the Games Main Organising Committee from the federal ministry of sports said for the event to go ahead, the federal government must provide cash backing. In his words…“Since March last year, you know the financial strength of most States, sub-nationals and countries. For us as a State, we are ready to host but don’t have the funds at this point in time to host the games; this is the plain truth. If the Federal Government however in its wisdom decides to bring the funding for the games, we will be too willing to host the country. We have to live with COVID-19 because it has come to stay; even with the vaccination, the virus will still be around.
Cancelling the game is not the solution to this issue, we have to sit down and look at all these issues critically before reaching a final decision.” The governor continued: “Beyond the game itself, which is an instrument of unity and a way of engaging the youths, there is the Tokyo Olympics to prepare for. But how do we prepare for the Olympics without Edo 2020? Can we afford to expose our young people to the dangers of COVID-19 or would there be other Olympics in the future? We have to balance these things. “We have to make a decision whether we want to go to the Tokyo games. If we want to, how do we prepare Nigeria’s contingents, where are the trials?” Earlier, the leader of delegation from FMYSD, Nebeolisa Anako, expressed delight with the facilities inspected by the committee. He said the facilities show that the State is ready to host the nation.
NPFL: Heartland coach says team is taking shape
Heartland’s assistant coach, Ezekiel Onyegbula has assured fans of the club that the Naze millionaires would get better with every game in the Nigeria Professional Footbal League (NPFL). Onyegbula who spoke after the 2-1 victory over Akwa United said the technical crew is working hard to build a formidable team that would at the end of the marathon league race finish well on the log. “We started badly but we are working round the clock to bounce back to reckoning. We are not resting on our oars and that showed in the game against Akwa United. The team is beginning to take shape and in the weeks ahead, we would have a formidable side that would be difficult to beat,” Onyegbula said. He noted that the team’s tactical approach in the second half of the game against Akwa gave them the maximum points.
“We exploited the weakness we saw in Akwa United team after the first half and capitalized on it to score the second half goal that gave us victory. Pascal Eze really played to instruction,” he said. Heartland it would be noted came from behind to win 2-1 against Akwa United. Akwa had gone ahead early in the game only for Heartland to level up from the spot before the end of the first half. Pascal Eze’s late strike saw Heartland carrying the day. Heartland had last week beaten Enyimba at home by 2-0 to raise hope of their fans that they would bounce back to league reckoning.