Tokyo Olympics still in jeopardy?
By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.
DESPITE the easing of restrictions on travel due to decreasing impact of COVID-19 in some countries like the U.S., Scotland, Wales, Singapore, Taiwan, to name some, the opposite is seen in India as well as in Japan, host of this year’s Tokyo Olympic Games.
Latest report says dozen of places, particularly Japan’s two major cities like Osaka and Hokkaido which are supposed to host some of the sports events, already withdrew their interest to host their respective assignments saying they could not guarantee the flattening of the curve of the global dreaded disease during the period. In fact, a petition calling for the cancellation of the quadrennial meet already garnered 350,000 signatures (so far) and was already submitted to the Tokyo Olympics Organizing Committee. In brief, there is a growing public opposition to the world sports event but that was not enough to discourage Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike. Despite being beleaguered, Gov. Koike decided to continue to work towards a safe and secured Olympics. He said to cancel would be a big loss for Tokyo and the economy of Japan, in particular.
But the opposing groups are urging the sports officials to prioritize ‘life’ first over the Games. Fortunately (or unfortunately), the Tokyo government sports officials are adamant in pushing it through, to host it without or with limited spectators.
The Tokyo Games this year, the second for Japan to host the quadrennial meet after 1964, was supposed to be held last year, but because of the sudden pandemic it was postponed, a decision that that shocked the sporting world. The organizers initially thought that at least a year postponement would be good enough to ensure a safe and secured ways to conduct the global festival of sports. But they were wrong. Countries (including PH), India’s COVID-19 variant had also already entered Japan prompting the petitioners that (if possible) to cancel the Games with some high-profile Japanese athletes like Masters golf champion Hideki Matsuyama and world’s number one women’s lawn tennis player Naomi Osaka have expressed their serious concerns. They were one in saying they fear of what might happen if the Games pushes through. Yes, the worst could happen and that will surely tarnish the image of Tokyo City and the prestigious Games.
But for a majority of the Japanese population, they want the hosting of the Games to continue. I guess that settles the issue for the organizers notwithstanding continued opposition to it.
Is Tokyo Olympic Games in jeopardy? Perhaps not. While the risks are real, I believe it will push through as scheduled on July 23-August 8. And hopefully, our athletes headed by weightlifter 2016 Rio Olympic Games silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz and Asian boxing winner Eumir Marcial will finally bring home the elusive gold medal for Philippines. Our athletes trained hard for the last five years and they don’t want that their effort turn to naught. Let’s wait and see.
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A table tennis invitational fun competition will be held in my place Barangay Buenlag in Mangaldan on May 30. There will be two categories: youth and veteran. Principal sponsor is Alex Billan and will be called “First Excellent Noodles Mangaldan Invitational Table Tennis Tournament.” Co-sponsors are Joseph Junio, Engr. John Garcia, SPM Riby Villegas and this writer. The tourney is under the directorship of former Palarong Pambansa player Rey Soriano of Mangaldan. See you there.
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? JOHN 14: 8-9.
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