Olympics could have ‘limited spectators,’ says Tokyo 2020 chief

Toshiro Muto
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Updated 31 July 2020

Olympics could have ‘limited spectators,’ says Tokyo 2020 chief

  • Japan currently bans visitors from more than 100 countries in a bid to limit the spread of the virus and Muto said it was “too optimistic to assume all restrictions will be gone, so we must think of other ways

TOKYO: Next year’s coronavirus-postponed Olympics could be held in front of a “limited number of spectators” to prevent the spread of infection, Tokyo 2020 chief executive Toshiro Muto has said.
The Tokyo 2020 games are now scheduled to open on July 23, 2021, after a historic postponement forced by the global march of the pandemic.
Muto told BBC Sports that organizers were committed to holding the event in 2021, with no discussion of canceling or postponing it further.
“Everyone should focus on holding the event next year — we’re on the same page.”
He said International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach was “not looking for” a Games held without any fans, but acknowledged smaller audiences might be possible.
“He may be thinking about a limited number of spectators with full consideration of social distancing,” Muto said.
“We must build an environment where people feel safe. Athletes and the IOC family may require testing before/after entering Japan and (we need) strong medical systems around accommodation and transportation plans,” he added.
Japan currently bans visitors from more than 100 countries in a bid to limit the spread of the virus and Muto said it was “too optimistic to assume all restrictions will be gone, so we must think of other ways.”
With just under a year to go until the postponed Games, Japanese citizens have expressed scepticism about whether the Olympics can or should be held.
Two polls in July found the majority of Japanese think the Games should be postponed again or canceled altogether.
And several medical experts have suggested the Games will not be viable without a proven treatment or vaccine for the virus.
Muto said a vaccine would be “a benefit ... (but) not a precondition.”
Chairman of the Tokyo Co-ordination Committee John Coates sounded a positive note by saying the Games would go ahead with or without a vaccine.
Organizers were “going ahead on the basis there won’t be a vaccine,” Coates told the Australia newspaper
He added that they were prepared “under whatever scenario we have to face, which will become clearer at the end of the year.”
Japan has so far seen experienced a comparatively small coronavirus outbreak, but infections have been on the rise, particularly in the capital.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, speaking to Japan’s Kyodo news agency on Wednesday, warned that “containing the new coronavirus inside the capital is a prerequisite” for holding the Games.


NBA playoff picture comes into a bit more focus

Updated 08 August 2020

NBA playoff picture comes into a bit more focus

  • Orlando and Washington are last two teams contending for one spot in the East
  • The race for the last unclaimed playoff spot in the Western Conference remains close

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida: The NBA playoff picture is getting a little clearer.
Brooklyn secured one of the last two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference on Friday, defeating Sacramento 119-106. That leaves Orlando and Washington as the last two teams contending for one spot in the East, with the Magic needing only one more win or one Wizards loss to clinch.
Orlando and Washington were both playing later Friday.
For the Nets, the clinching comes as something to savor in a topsy-turvy season.
Kevin Durant couldn’t play at all because of his recovery from Achilles surgery — yet still got a $1 million contract bonus because Brooklyn made the postseason. Kyrie Irving missed much of the year because of injury, the Nets had several regulars opt out of participating in the restart, changed coaches in March and have used 24 players so far this season.
“It’s great to punch our own ticket into the playoffs,” Nets coach Jacque Vaughn said. “I joked with the guys: I like my laundry being done, but nothing like doing your own laundry.”
The race for the last unclaimed playoff spot in the Western Conference remains close, with teams vying to grab the No. 8 spot and play the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round. If the eighth- and ninth-place teams are within four games of one another when the seeding game schedule ends next week, there will be a two-game series to determine who gets the last playoff spot.
Should that series take place, the ninth-place team would have to go 2-0 in a best-of-two series to advance.
Memphis remained alone in eighth, after the Grizzlies snapped a four-game bubble losing streak by beating Oklahoma City on Friday 121-92. The Grizzlies are one game ahead of Portland in the West standings.
“We channeled what we’ve done all season long,” Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said. “We played Grizzlies basketball. Grizzlies basketball equals Grizzlies wins, more often than not. We hadn’t done that in the first four games.”
San Antonio leaped idle Phoenix into 10th in the West by beating Utah 119-111, with the Spurs improving to 3-2 in the bubble. The Spurs (30-38) are one game behind Portland in the standings.
“At the end of the day, we can’t control what they’re doing,” Spurs center Jakob Poeltl said. “We can only control what we’re doing. We’re going to take every game as it comes. We’re going to try to win every game.”
Phoenix, Sacramento and New Orleans remain in the mix for a play-in series spot. The Suns, who are 4-0 at Disney, play Miami on Saturday.