International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach on Tuesday (July 20) praised medical workers and volunteers for making the Tokyo Games possible amid the coronavirus pandemic and said the event would send a powerful message of “peace and solidarity”.
The Games, postponed last year because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, begin on Friday (July 23) but will be without spectators after Japan’s decision earlier this month to leave venues empty to minimise the risk of infections.
“We can only be together today because of the heroic efforts of all the doctors, nurses, healthcare workers and the many volunteers around the world,” Bach said.
He lead IOC delegates in a minute’s silence, which paid tribute to healthcare workers and those who had lost their lives as a result of the pandemic.
Bach also said that World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus would be in Tokyo on Wednesday.