Sports

Tokyo Olympics: Risk of staging the games must be carefully weighed, says Naomi Osaka

Tennis star Naomi Osaka has mixed views over holding the Olympics in Tokyo amid the raging coronavirus pandemic in 2021.

Naomi Osaka conflicted over holding the Tokyo Olympics. (Reuters Photo)

Naomi Osaka conflicted over holding the Tokyo Olympics. (Reuters Photo)

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Osaka is conflicted over whether Tokyo Olympics should be held amid the pandemic
  • Tokyo Olympics were already postponed from 2020 due to the pandemic
  • International Olympic Committee insist the games will open as planned on July 23

Tennis star Naomi Osaka on Sunday said that the risks of holding the Tokyo Games amid the raging Covid-19 pandemic in Japan should continue to be carefully discussed. Osaka further said staging the Games should remain a topic of discussion as long as the subject was “making people very uncomfortable”.

“Of course I want the Olympics to happen, but I think there’s so much important stuff going on, especially the past year,” she told a news conference ahead of the Italian Open. “A lot of unexpected things have happened.

“For me, I feel like if it’s putting people at risk… then it definitely should be a discussion, which I think it is as of right now. At the end of the day I’m just an athlete, and there is a whole pandemic going on, so, yeah.”

The Tokyo Olympics were already postponed from 2020 and opposition seems to rise in Japan about holding the games this year. The virus and its spreading variants are taxing Japan’s healthcare system with only 2% of the population vaccinated.

But local organizers and the International Olympic Committee insist the games will open as planned on July 23.

“I feel like whatever makes everyone more comfortable and more safe. There’s going to be a lot of people entering the country, so they definitely have to make the right decisions on that,” Osaka said.

“I’ve gotten vaccinated. At the end of the day you can’t force anyone to be vaccinated.

But then Osaka added: “If you’re going into the Olympics and whatever, make the host country happy.”

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