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Tokyo Olympic Games a sign of light at end of Covid tunnel, says IOC President

Tokyo Olympic Games a sign of light at end of Covid tunnel, says IOC President

Tokyo Olympic Games a sign of light at end of Covid tunnel, says IOC President

The Tokyo Olympic Games show that there is light at the end of the tunnel of the coronavirus pandemic, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said on Tuesday.

Bach was in Athens to attend a ceremony for the unveiling of new lighting at Panathenaic Stadium (Kallimarmaro), the marble stadium that hosted the first modern Games in 1896.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Tuesday received Bach at the Maximos Mansion.

“I am truly very happy that you are here today, in light of these very different Olympic Games, and I await to hear your views on how things will unfold with immense interest. As you are aware, we have already made great progress in terms of our international commitments,” Mitsotakis said.

Referring to the progress of the vaccine rollout in Greece, Mitsotakis pointed out: “In the beginning, when we started the vaccinations we did not have the same acceptance percentages as we do now. Now the percentages have skyrocketed as we apply a very professional vaccination process and all those that have been vaccinated are very satisfied with the overall experience.”

On his part, Bach thanked him for the warm welcome. “I believe that our meeting has a special symbolism. The last time we met was at the beginning of the pandemic and now we are near its end. We now see light at the end of the tunnel and in terms of the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Congratulations for the bicentennial anniversary of the Greek Revolution that you celebrated last week.”

President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou on Tuesday also expressed her solidarity with the international sports family during this difficult time due to the pandemic, during her meeting with Bach at the Presidential Mansion.

On his part, Bach thanked Sakellaropoulou and reassured her that the Olympic Games will be held in total safety for all the participants.

The Olympic Games will start on July 23, although the organisers have banned international spectators from attending.

Gold medalist Katerina Stefanidi supports 2021 Tokyo Olympics

Reigning Olympic pole vault champion Katerina Stefanidi has spoken out strongly in favour of going ahead with the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

It is recalled last year, she accused the International Olympic Committee of putting athletes “at risk” amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Stefanidi told Japan’s Kyodo news agency that it would be better to hold the Olympics without fans than not at all, adding that she thought athletes were overwhelmingly in favour of competing.

“I think that it’s a very different situation than what we had last year, where we didn’t really know anything about the virus,” she added.

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