Olympic Games 2020: The public asked not to attend the marathon by the organizers and the Japanese authorities


The Marthonians and the walkers will probably not have the popular support to go to the end of their course at the Olympics. The organizers of the Olympic Games and the Japanese authorities on Tuesday called on the public to « abstain » and not to attend the tests of these two disciplines because of the health risks linked to the Covid-19 pandemic. Even if they are planned in Sapporo, which is more than 800 kilometers from Tokyo.

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« In view of the current Covid-19 situation, it will be necessary to reduce the risk of infection by limiting public travel« , justified in a statement the organizers of the Olympic Games in Tokyo and the authorities of Sapporo and the department of Hokkaido, of which this city is the capital. »It was therefore decided to ask the public to abstain« to follow the races from the side of the road in Sapporo, according to this statement.

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The marathon, one of the flagship events of the Olympic Games, was at the heart of a controversy in 2019, when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had imposed its organization in Sapporo rather than Tokyo, for fear of potentially scorching temperatures in Tokyo in early August, combined with extreme humidity. The women’s marathon must be held on August 7 and the men’s one on the last day of the Games which open on July 23.

New restrictions to be expected

The organizers have already given up on welcoming spectators from abroad, and in June only allowed the public residing in Japan up to 50% of the capacity of each site and up to a limit of 10,000 people. But the recent upsurge of the coronavirus in Japan, and in particular in Tokyo, should force the government to extend restrictions by the end of this week, which notably set the maximum number of spectators to sporting events at 5,000. Hence a very likely tightening of restrictions for the public during the Olympics.

According to the daily Asahi Tuesday, the general public should also be banned from the opening ceremony of the Olympics in the new Olympic stadium in Tokyo on July 23. The organizers are also seeking to limit the number of official guests at the ceremony to « a few hundred » (IOC representatives, foreign dignitaries, sponsors, etc.), according to government sources cited by Asahi.

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