Sir Keith Mills, the deputy chairman of the London Organising Committee for the 2012 Olympic Games, is dubious the delayed Tokyo Olympics will take place.
The Tokyo organisers and the International Olympic Committee are adamant the Games will start in July despite a fresh wave of infections sweeping the globe.
Mills told BBC Radio 5 live: “Looking at the pandemic around the world, in South America, in North America, in Africa and across Europe, it looks unlikely.
“If I was sitting in the shoes of the organising committee in Tokyo, I would be making plans for a cancellation and I’m sure they have plans for a cancellation. I think they will leave it until absolutely the last minute in case the situation improves dramatically, in case the vaccinations roll out faster than we all hope.”
A state of emergency has been extended in Japan to combat rising coronavirus rates, but the World Athletics president Lord Coe is confident the event will go ahead this year. “I don’t think it will be cancelled,” he told Sky News. “It is going to be a challenge, we know that, it is pretty self-evident and there will be adaptions. But of all the countries on the planet that has the fortitude and the resilience to see this through, it is Japan. I wake up as a federation president grateful that Japan is dealing with this and not some other places I could think of.
“I am sure there will be big issues with crowds and just think about the Olympic Village, too. You have got 10,500 athletes and another 7,000 support staff in there. They are all wanting to eat at the same time and that is just a sliver of the challenge. For the athletes it will be a different experience. I think the Games will take place but they will look different.”
Despite Coe’s optimism, the current situation makes it hugely difficult for athletes to prepare for the Games.
The Tokyo 2020 organising committee spokesman Masa Takaya said last week there had never been a discussion about a further delay to this summer’s Games or a cancellation.