International Paralympic Committee president Andrew Parsons is hopeful the Tokyo Games can signal the start of a new post-coronavirus era.
The pandemic resulted in the event being put back 12 months and the countdown is back on for the Japanese capital to host the world’s best.
In exactly one year – August 24th – the Paralympic Games are set to get under way and run until September 5th while the Olympic Games are scheduled to begin on July 23rd and conclude on August 8th.
All this depends on the state of the world this time in 2021 and whether coronavirus remains or a vaccine has been found.
“It is always on the table because no-one knows what the world will look like in one year,” Parsons told the PA news agency.
“We need to make decisions, not on the eve of the opening ceremony – we need to make some decisions a few months in advance.
— Olympics (@Olympics) March 30, 2020
“We don’t have a date yet, we don’t have a date where we need to make a decision because it depends on how the pandemic develops and if there is a vaccine, if there are more effective ways of controlling the virus or if the measures applied by governments now have a positive effect on the control of the pandemic.
“There is a possibility if we cannot guarantee the safety and health of everyone involved in the Games, especially the athletes, the Games can’t go ahead.”
Paralympic chief Parsons revealed he had an original vision for the 2020 Games to be more than about sport.
Even though it may be 12 months later than planned, the Brazilian is confident wider issues can be highlighted in Tokyo.
Parsons added: “I do believe the Games will mean something completely different and bigger and have a more compounding impact on the world. It can be a symbol that we have left this crisis behind.
“What I would like to see, and of course all that we have prepared in terms of communication and campaigns for Tokyo, are in the direction of human rights for people with disability.
“We are trying to play a major role in that area as well to use the Games for a higher purpose, not only gold, silver and bronze.