Head of the World Health Organisation, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, says the Tokyo Olympics should go ahead to demonstrate what can be achieved with the right plan and measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking to International Olympic Committee members at their session in the Japanese capital, Tedros said the world needed the Olympics now as a celebration of hope.
“The world needs now more than ever a celebration of hope. The celebrations may be more muted this year, but the message of hope is all the more important. May the Olympic torch be a symbol of hope that traverses the planet and may the rays of hope from this land of the rising sun illuminate a new dawn for a world that’s healthier safer and fairer,” he said.
The Tokyo Games officially start on Friday amid questions over their safety, with tens of thousands of foreigners arriving.
Tedros criticised the vaccine discrepancies between countries, saying the pandemic could be ended if G20 economies showed collective leadership and there was a fairer distribution of vaccines.
“Instead of being deployed widely, vaccines have been concentrated in the hands and arms of a lucky few. That threat is not over anywhere until it’s over everywhere. Anyone who thinks the pandemic is over because it’s over where they live is living in a fool’s paradise.”
WHO condemns global failure to assist poor countries with COVID-19 vaccinations:
While it’s still two days to go to the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics, competition has started in earnest with women’s softball and football on the schedule.
The 2016 Rio Olympic Games runners-up, Sweden, caused a major upset in the opening round of group matches in the women’s football tournament.
They beat World champions and the number-one ranked side in the world, the United States 3-0 in a Group G encounter.
Sweden and the United States had played seven times previously with the United States winning three of those encounters while Sweden won once and three matches were drawn.
Sweden were the more offensive of the two teams early on and they raided the United States’ goalposts.
But they squandered an opportunity to take the lead with forward, Stina Blackstenius’ attempt going wide.
Sweden launched yet another attack with the United States’ defence dealing with the danger on this occasion.
Keeper, Alex Morgan, pulled off great saves to deny Sweden goals in a short space of time.
But their efforts were rewarded when Blackstenius connected with a Sofia Jakobbsson cross and headed home.
The United States had a chance to level matters on the stroke of half-time, only for midfielder, Rose Lavelle’s header to hit the upright.
After leading 1-nil at half-time, Sweden didn’t take their foot off the pedal.
They doubled their lead with Blackstenius beating Morgan at close range after Amanda Ilestedt’s header rebounded off the upright.
Substitute, Lina Hurting, put the game beyond the reach of the United States, connecting with a Hanna Glas cross to make it 3-0.
A memorable start to Sweden’s Tokyo Olympic Games campaign and, the Australian city of Brisbane will host the 2032 summer Olympic Games, after the International Olympic Committee overwhelmingly approved the recommendation of its executive board.
It will become the third Australian city to host the Games after Melbourne in 1956 and Sydney in 2000.