Fan-free Tokyo Paralympics can still have major impact, says IPC chief

TOKYO: Paralympics chief Andrew Parsons is assured the pandemic-delayed Tokyo Games will go forward this 12 months, and can be “a platform to change to world” – with or with out spectators.

As COVID-19 infections surge globally, organisers have mentioned the Games might have to be held behind closed doorways or with fewer followers.

READ: Games will go ahead regardless of pandemic situation, says Tokyo Olympics president

But International Paralympic Committee president Parsons instructed AFP that might be a value value paying.

“The Paralympic Games are a platform to change the world,” he mentioned in an interview, simply over 200 days earlier than the opening ceremony on August 24.

“We do understand that the Games will not be the same without spectators, but the impact of the Games is very strong outside the host city and the host nation.”

“The impact that the Paralympics have is not only in the two-point-something million people that attend the Games,” he added. “We’re talking about the four billion people around the world watching the Paralympic Games.”

Parsons said he's confident the Tokyo Paralympics can be staged safely

Parsons mentioned he is assured the Tokyo Paralympics can be staged safely AFP/Simon Bruty for OIS

With lower than six months to go till Tokyo 2020, there are rising questions on whether or not the occasion can be held safely.

But Parsons mentioned he’s “very positive” concerning the Games taking place this 12 months, and insisted there’s “no scenario” the place the Olympics will occur with out the Paralympics.

He mentioned everybody concerned in organising the Games is “unanimous in the fact that this is not something that is going to happen, where we have the Olympics and not the Paralympics”.

“We will have both. There is no scenario where the Olympics will go ahead and the Paralympics will not go ahead,” he mentioned.


Parsons acknowledged nonetheless that qualifying tournaments could possibly be affected, and that some athletes could also be left “unhappy”.

Only 57 per cent of athletes have secured their locations in Tokyo thus far, with qualification occasions set to renew in March on the earliest.

“We may have more people unhappy than in previous times,” he mentioned. “But again, there’s not much we can do to change that. We need to protect people.

“We is not going to make individuals compete to get their qualification slot for Tokyo if that is going to place them in danger.”

Paralympians will not be required to take a coronavirus vaccine, Parsons said

Paralympians is not going to be required to take a coronavirus vaccine, Parsons mentioned AFP/Simon Bruty for OIS

As vaccines roll out around the globe, Parsons mentioned they’d not be required for participation within the Games, as is the case for Olympic athletes.

But he inspired athletes to get the jab as “an extra layer of protection”.

He mentioned the IPC is working with the International Olympic Committee to make vaccines obtainable to athletes, however warned there are “many issues” in reaching a good resolution.

“Anything that we do in that regard we need to do for all of our members, all of our athletes,” he mentioned.

“It can’t be something that we do for X country or Z country. That’s the challenge – we need to be absolutely fair with all the different nations.”

Some Paralympians might have elevated vulnerability, however Parsons mentioned the goal was “to give the best protection we can give to every single athlete” no matter particular danger elements.

Organisers have already drafted intensive virus countermeasures, and Parsons mentioned he believes the Games can be held safely, pointing to sports activities occasions that have been staged around the globe throughout the pandemic.

Athletes are decided to participate, no matter how many individuals are within the stands, he added.

“We want them to have the opportunity to compete,” he mentioned.

“Yes, we would be losing some part of the experience, but in balancing things here, we are far more positive about having the Games – even if it’s without spectators or only Japanese – than not having the Games at all.”

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