Naomi Osaka says there are still discussions taking place in her home country about whether the Tokyo Olympics should take place this year due to the continuing COVID risks.
Already postponed from 2020, the Olympics are scheduled to begin as early as July 23, and Osaka is one of a number of tennis players who have openly stated that they have an Olympic medal in their sights this year.
However, with only 2% of the Japanese population vaccinated so far, there has been some growing concerns about the amount of international travelers entering the country and the increased risks associated.
Osaka, who is one of Japan’s leading athletes, was asked her opinion on whether she believes the Games will go ahead.
“Of course I would say I want the Olympics to happen, because I’m an athlete and that’s sort of what I’ve been waiting for my entire life,” said Osaka.
“But I think that there’s so much important stuff going on, and especially the past year.
“I think a lot of unexpected things have happened and if it’s putting people at risk, and if it’s making people very uncomfortable, then it definitely should be a discussion, which I think it is as of right now.
“At the end of the day I’m just an athlete and there’s a whole pandemic going on,” Osaka said.
Organisers and the International Olympic Committee have insisted the games will go ahead and recently announced that vaccine developers Pfizer and BioNTech would donate doses to inoculate athletes and officials preparing for Tokyo.
“I feel like whatever makes everyone more comfortable and more safe,’ said Osaka.
“There’s going to be a lot of people entering the country, so they definitely have to make the right decisions on that.
“I’ve gotten vaccinated. At the end of the day you can’t force anyone to be vaccinated.” But then she added: “If you’re going into the Olympics and whatever, make the host country happy.”
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