Tokyo: As the royal gala of Tokyo Olympics 2020 ended on Monday, the city is witnessing a surge of corona cases and a massive bill of expense, but receives a mixed response from the general public, reports Agence France-Presse.
The Japanese daily, Asahi Shimbun, blamed that the 15 billion dollar event as a gamble with people's life. The leading newspaper had called for the cancellation of the event despite being a sponsor. It added that conducting the game in such a vulnerable time had made the situation worse.
The daily had conducted a poll during the last two days of the Games and found that 54 per cent do not believe that the event was safe and secure, while only 32 per cent believed otherwise. But 56 per cent supported conducting the event while 32 per cent opposed.
But Olympic officials repeated with unwavering confidence that the Games served hope and uplifting moments. It played no part in major pandemic outbreaks, they said. The International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach said at the closing press conference that the Games had been a powerful demonstration of the unifying power of sport.
Though the public was concerned about the event in the beginning, later, it seemed to change. Crowds had gathered at the Olympic Stadium to witness the opening ceremony fireworks and snapped photos before the Olympic rings. Throughout the days of the event, many gathered on public roads defying requests to stay away. Olympic merchandise was sold like anything in shops across Japan, showing that the lustre of the Games was not dampened.
A local, expressing his excitement told AFP that no one can help but cheer for them when athletes run past before them. The triathlon route passed in front of his home. Another local told AFP that she was a little worried, but the Games has brightened up everything.
The Games were held with stringent restrictions like masks for all, cheering for none and fans were not allowed in a few of the game venues. The postponement, the first-ever in history, had harshly impacted athletes, upturning their years of planning.
Though there had been concerns about how the pandemic and postponement would affect the Games, performance remained impressive. Some world records were broken while several new sports were added, such as skateboarding and surfing. Australian footballer Alanna Kennedy has tweeted that the event was successfully held amidst the pandemic. The organisers always greeted participants with a smile and kindness, she added.
The Chairman of the British Olympic Association, Hugh Robertson, said that the Games had been held in the most challenging circumstances imaginable and the organisers had done well.
The event paid Japan well, too, with 27 gold medals. Japanese Olympic officials said that they felt the record gain of gold won the public support for the Games. Families brought their children to venues and cheered or hung flags at their windows, they added.
But many athletes lost their chance after contracting the Covid-19 virus. The concern of a sharp rise in fresh pandemic cases during the event purveyed all through. Many parts of the country, including Tokyo, is under a state of virus emergency. While only a third of the country's population is fully vaccinated, infections are surging incited by the Delta variant.