KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: The International Olympic Games has insisted, for athletes and officials and fans, that the 2020 Games in Tokyo will go ahead as planned despite concerns about the worldwide spread of coronavirus.

A statement of confidence was issued to counter speculation of a postponement, as mentioned by Japan’s Olympics Minister, and the possibility of cancellation, as mooted as a worst possible scenario, by veteran IOC member Dick Pound.

A meeting of the IOC’s executive board in Lausanne studied and debated a report on all the measures taken so far to address the crisis.

IOC president Thomas Bach said: “We are preparing for a successful Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.”

A joint task force had already been created in mid-February, involving the IOC, Tokyo 2020, the host city of Tokyo, the government of Japan and the World Health Organization.

A statement said: “The IOC EB appreciates and supports the measures being taken, which constitute an important part of Tokyo’s plans to host safe and secure Games.

“The IOC will continue to follow the advice of WHO, as the leading United Nations agency on this topic. The IOC EB expressed its thanks to WHO for its continued valuable advice and cooperation.

“It also praised the great unity and solidarity of the athletes, National Olympic Committees, International Federations and governments. It welcomed their close collaboration and flexibility with regard to the preparations for the Games, and particularly the qualification events.

“All stakeholders continue to work closely together to address the challenges of the coronavirus.

“The IOC EB encourages all athletes to continue to prepare for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The IOC will keep supporting the athletes by providing the latest information and developments, which are accessible for athletes worldwide on the Athlete365 website.