Olympics Meaningful Even Without Fans, Tokyo 2020 Chief Says Ahead Of Beijing

Olympics meaningful even without fans, Tokyo 2020 chief says ahead of Beijing

Tokyo, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 20th Jan, 2022 ) :Next month's Beijing Winter Olympics can still be meaningful even with the general public locked out because of Covid-19, a top official from last year's pandemic-delayed Tokyo Games has said.

China on Monday cancelled plans to sell Beijing Olympics tickets to the public as the number of coronavirus cases in the country reached its highest level since March 2020.

Beijing 2022 chiefs said they will instead "organise spectators to watch the Games on-site", without explaining how they will be selected.

The pandemic-postponed Tokyo Olympics were held almost entirely behind closed doors last summer, and Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto said his experience had shown the Games can thrive even without full stands.

"I think it's preferable to have fans at an Olympics, but I don't think the meaning of hosting it was lost just because antivirus measures meant fans couldn't be there," he told AFP.

"In our digital society, people can watch as if they are in stadiums. Make no mistake, that emotion still comes across." Beijing organisers have planned a raft of antivirus measures in a bid to keep the virus out.

Athletes, support staff, volunteers and media will all be kept in a tightly controlled "closed loop" bubble separating them from the rest of the population.

They will also have to undergo daily virus tests and wear a high-spec mask at all times.

The strict measures are a continuation of those developed and implemented at the Tokyo Games -- and Muto warned they may still be needed at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

"I don't think anyone can say for sure how the virus situation is going to develop from now on," he said.

"There are still more than two years to go until the Paris Games so my hope is that things will be back to normal by that time.

"That's my hope, but you never know until the time comes."