Tokyo Olympic Games threatened by fears of COVID-19 spike

While Polish sport fans focus on the number of medals for the Polish athletes competing in Tokyo, many Japanese fear that the event, scheduled to take place on the turn of July and August, may cause a spike in the number of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infections.

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Tokyo entered its second state of emergency on Friday, less than 200 days before the start of the already postponed Olympic Games, many believe it will be difficult, perhaps impossible, to host the most important sports event.

The Japanese government and International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided in March to postpone the Olympics by a year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. The global sports showpiece is now slated to take place from July 23 to August 8.

However, a December poll by public broadcaster NHK showed that a third of Japanese residents want the Games to be scrapped amid fear that an influx of foreign arrivals may cause a further spike in COVID-19 cases.

The 121-day torch relay will begin in Fukushima on March 25. Fears over whether the Games can be held in Tokyo have increased in the last few weeks as COVID-19 cases surge in Japan and around the world.

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Polish hopes for Tokyo

Regardless of the final date of the Olympic Games in the capital of Japan, Polish sports fans count on a number of medals for Poland.

The Polish national team will be a frontrunner in the men’s volleyball tournament as Poland holds the title of World Champion. Poles have been waiting for Olympic Games volleyball success since... 1976. In Montreal, Canada, Poland won the gold medal, but since then there has been no other success.

Anita Włodarczyk, the holder of the world record and the incumbent Olympic Champion in women’s hammer throw will have another opportunity to confirm her domination in this sports discipline.

Among other track and field disciplines Poland also hopes for good performances by men’s hammer throwers Wojciech Nowicki and Paweł Fajdek, pole vault athletes Piotr Lisek and Paweł Wojciechowski as well as the female relay team 4x400m.

One of the strengths of the Polish Olympic team for many years was rowing as they won many medals in the Games, including gold and bronze in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 for crews Magdalena Fularczyk-Kozłowska-Natalia Madaj and Monika Ciaciuch-Maria Springwald-Agnieszka Kobus-Joanna Leszczyńska respectively. During the upcoming event in Tokyo, Poland also hopes for further successes of both male and female crews.