Hashimoto will address the IOC for the first time since the Tokyo 2020 presidential election

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto is due to address the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at tomorrow’s monthly meeting, which will once again be held virtually.

Hashimoto, appointed to replace the embarrassed Yoshirō Mori last Thursday (February 18th), will speak with IOC President Thomas Bach and the rest of the Executive Committee via video from the Japanese capital.

The main topic is expected to be the final preparations for the reorganized Olympic and Paralympic Games, which will continue to take place in the background of the coronavirus pandemic, which leads to a drop in public support in Japan.

Hashimoto, who as a speed skater and cyclist has compared a record seven Olympics, claimed she understands why there is “great public concern” about hosting the Games during such a global crisis.

Following the appointment, she acknowledged that tackling the coronavirus threat was the most important task she faced, and vowed to hold “safe and secure” games.

This is the first meeting of the IOC Executive Board since the publication of a series of “manual books” designed to show key stakeholder groups, including athletes, how Tokyo 2020 can safely take place in such an environment.

In Tokyo, there is growing opposition to the city hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games during the current coronavirus pandemic © Getty Images
In Tokyo, there is growing opposition to the city hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games during the current coronavirus pandemic © Getty Images

But last Thursday, a Reuters The poll found that nearly two-thirds of Japanese companies opposed holding the Games as planned, another sign that anti-Olympic sentiment is strengthening in the host country.

It found that 36 percent of companies want a second postponement and 29 percent a dismissal.

The remaining 35 percent wanted the Games to go further.

When asked how much impact the Games could have on the Japanese economy, 88 percent of companies said they expect to feel either limited or very little impact, and only five percent expect a significant boost.

Japan began introducing the COVID-19 vaccine last week, and large sections of the population will not be vaccinated until the Games open, prompting many to believe that delaying another year will allow more people to be vaccinated and the event to take place. a place in a safer environment.

Belarus’ participation under its own flag in Tokyo 2020 is expected to be high on the agenda of the IOC Executive Board.

The IOC has launched an investigation against the National Olympic Committee of the Republic of Belarus (NOC Belarus) following recent allegations of political discrimination against athletes.

Many athletes were at the forefront of protests against the controversial re-election of Alexander Lukashenko as president last August.

Lukashenko is also the president of the NOC of Belarus.

Athletes led demonstrations against re-election of Alexander Lukashenko as President of Belarus, leading to discrimination against them © Getty Images
Athletes led demonstrations against re-election of Alexander Lukashenko as President of Belarus, leading to discrimination against them © Getty Images

More than 100 men and women have reportedly been banned from competing in Belarus since an open letter was signed calling for an end to police violence against peaceful anti-government protesters.

In December, the IOC Executive Board ruled that “the current NOC leadership did not adequately protect Belarusian athletes from political discrimination,” which is against the Olympic Charter.

The sanctions included a ban on Lukashenko and his eldest son Viktor, the first vice-president of the NOC of Belarus, from attending Tokyo in 2020 and halting any financial support.

If the IOC Executive Board decides that athletes protesting against Lukashenko continue to be discriminated against, then further measures could be taken, including the suspension of the National Olympic Committee and their athletes forced to compete under the Olympic flag.

Belarus has already been deprived of several events since Lukashenko’s re-election, including this year’s World Ice Hockey Championship for men and the World Championship in modern pentathlon.

Mr Lukashenko described the IOC’s sanctions as “politically motivated” and intended to “put pressure on the administration of the National Olympic Committee of Belarus”.

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