Only 6000 athletes expected at Olympics opening ceremony
Bystanders watch as giant Olympic rings are reinstalled at the waterfront area at Odaiba Marine Park, after they were temporarily taken down in August for maintenance amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Tokyo, Japan December 1, 2020. [Reuters, Kim Kyung-Hoon]

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) expects only 6,000 athletes to participate in the opening ceremony at the Tokyo Summer Games, more than half of initial estimates, as organisers implement measures to guard against coronavirus infections.

The IOC plans to scale back the ceremony because athletes will not be allowed to arrive at the Olympic Village, which can accommodate 18,000 people, more than five days before they compete and must depart within two days after their event finishes, the paper reported citing unidentified sources.

Around 11,000 athletes from 200 countries had initially been expected at the opening ceremony, the Yomiuri said.

Only 6000 athletes expected at Olympics opening ceremony
Yoshiro Mori, President of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, speaks during the opening remarks session of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Executive Board Meeting in Tokyo, Japan December 22, 2020. [Carl Court/Pool via REUTERS]

The latest surge in coronavirus infections in Japan and elsewhere has cast fresh doubts over the future of the Tokyo Olympics, which were delayed from last year. Any cancellation, or scaled back event could impose a financial burden on the IOC because it relies on income from selling television rights for the major sporting event.

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