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.


Murray to the rescue as Nuggets hold of Lakers

Updated 23 September 2020

Murray to the rescue as Nuggets hold of Lakers

  • The 23-year-old Canadian’s three-pointer from 26 feet gave Denver a seven-point advantage at 106-99

ORLANDO: Jamal Murray scored 28 points as the Denver Nuggets held off a ferocious late fightback from the Los Angeles Lakers to roar back into contention in the Western Conference finals series on Tuesday.

Murray nailed two crucial late three-pointers in the closing minutes as Denver held on for a 114-106 victory in game three to reduce the Lakers’ lead to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.

But the Nuggets — who looked in complete control for long periods of the contest — were given a mighty scare by the Lakers in a thrilling fourth quarter battle.

The Lakers had trailed by 20 points with just over 10 minutes remaining but whittled away the Denver lead to just three points with 3min 53sec left on the clock in Orlando.

But just as it looked as if LeBron James and Anthony Davis were poised to complete a remarkable comeback, Murray regrouped to take the game away from the Lakers.

The 23-year-old Canadian’s three-pointer from 26 feet gave Denver a seven-point advantage at 106-99 and he then provided the assist for Paul Millsap to make it 108-99.

With less than a minute on the clock, Murray struck the dagger blow with a 29-foot three-point jumpshot to make it 111-99 and effectively seal victory.

Denver coach Michael Malone said his team — who had suffered an agonizing buzzer-beater defeat in game two on Sunday — were determined not to go 3-0 down in the series.

The Nuggets have already overturned 3-1 series deficits en route to the Western Conference finals.

“I had no doubt we were going to show up tonight,” Malone said.

“We have won six straight elimination games. Everybody always has us packing our bags and leaving, but we’re not ready to go. They’re a very resilient group and they have proved that time and time again.”

Asked about his late flourish, Murray said he had set out to lead by example.

“That’s my whole energy, my whole approach to the game, not getting down if I miss a couple of shots,” Murray said.

“I’m just trying to be aggressive ... but the most important part is the energy I bring when I’m talking to my team-mates, being a vocal leader, getting up and down and pushing everybody so they tend to follow. I just wanted to see them have a lot of fun today.”

The Lakers, meanwhile, were left reflecting on an uneven display which ultimately left James and Davis with too much to do.

James led the scoring with a triple double comprised of 30 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists, with six turnovers. Davis had 27 points, with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (12) and Kyle Kuzma (11) the only other Lakers players to crack double figures.

Murray, who also had 12 assists, was backed with 26 points from Jerami Grant while Nikola Jokic weighed in with 22 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.

“You put yourself in an 18-point hole, it’s tough to climb out of that,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said.

“I thought Denver played with great energy throughout the game. We didn’t match it early, we matched it late. They’re a great basketball team so credit it to them for the win. They played a really good basketball game.

“We were not as sharp as we could have been on both ends of the floor. We were playing at a high level, but were a little bit off in the first half.

“But I liked the spirit that the guys competed with down the stretch to try and make it a game.”