The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) concluded its ninth and penultimate Project Review with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee on Thursday (6 February) by declaring it was “encouraged and confident” about preparations for this summer’s Paralympics.
With 201 days to go, the IPC discussed several topics during the Project Review, which took place over three days and included a site visit to the new Olympic Stadium. In addition to participation from the IPC and Tokyo 2020 representatives, three National Paralympic Committees – Canada, Great Britain and Japan – all took part in providing valuable input.
Craig Spence, the IPC’s Chief Brand and Communications Officer, said: “We have been greatly impressed by the progress made by Tokyo 2020 in many areas since our last meeting in December and continue to be blown away by the interest the Japanese public is showing for the Games.
“One area where we have witnessed significant progress is accessible transport, which is essential for all stakeholder groups at the Paralympics, especially the athletes. There is still some work to be done, especially around transport for ceremonies, but I am pleased the team are very much now on the right track.
“A focus area for the Organising Committee between now and May’s final Project Review is transition planning, the period between the end of the Olympics and the start of the Paralympics. The transition period is vital to get right, not just in terms of venues, but in terms of all functional areas.”
During the Project Review the issue of coronavirus was discussed and the IPC was keen to reassure the public about the potential impact it could have on preparations for this summer’s Paralympic Games.
Craig Spence said: “The outbreak of coronavirus so far has had minimal impact on Games preparations and both the IPC and Tokyo 2020 are going about our plans as expected with athlete health and well-being remaining our top priority.
“When it comes to the virus, it must be stressed that neither the IPC or Tokyo 2020 are the health experts; our job and focus is organising the Games. The experts are the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other relevant national authorities, and we will continue to have regular dialogue with them and follow their advice.
“Although the latest WHO statistics detailing the numbers known to be infected by the virus outside of China are still relatively small. We would not be doing our job properly if we are not prepared for every eventuality.
“We are therefore encouraged that Tokyo 2020 has established an internal taskforce on what measures may need to be taken should this virus continue into the summer. We are also fully reassured that the relevant Japanese authorities, as well as the WHO, will take all necessary measures to address the ongoing situation.
“What is important now is that we put this outbreak into perspective in terms of cases and try to calm people’s fears. Fear spreads much faster than any virus and currently, according to the WHO, there are less than 200 reported cases outside of China.”
The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will take place between 25 August and 6 September, bringing together 4,350 athletes from around 160 countries who will take part in 22 sports.