The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board is set to hear updates on the crises in Belarus and the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), and preparations for Tokyo 2020, when it holds its latest remote meeting tomorrow, November 12, 2020.
Reports on upcoming Olympic Games, such as Beijing 2022, Paris 2024 and Milan-Cortina 2026, will also be delivered to the ruling body during the meeting.
Tokyo 2020, pushed back to 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic, will be among the key agenda items as preparations for the first postponed Olympics continue.
Organisers and the IOC will be excited to by the news this week that a COVID-19 vaccine being developed by American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and BioNTech has been found to be 90 per cent effective.
While IOC President Thomas Bach and Tokyo 2020 officials have insisted a vaccine for the novel coronavirus will not be a “silver bullet” for the Games taking place next year, the development has been met with relief from the Organising Committee.
Tokyo also held its first event involving international athletes since the coronavirus pandemic hit last week, with the team gymnastics competition on Saturday (November 7) deemed a dress rehearsal for the Olympics and Paralympics.
Coronavirus countermeasures for the Games, including a mechanism for lifting the entry ban on foreign tourists, testing and a health-checking app, are likely to feature in the report on Tokyo 2020 from IOC Coordination Commission chairman John Coates.
The status of the National Olympic Committee of the Republic of Belarus (NOCRB) and weightlifting’s place on the Olympic Games programme will also be discussed at tomorrow’s meeting.
The IOC has has warned the IWF that the sport’s spot on the Paris 2024 programme remains under threat unless the situation at the embattled governing body improves following a tumultuous period sparked by the removal of Ursula Papandrea as Interim President.
Papandrea was replaced initially by Intarat Yodbangtoey, who was also accused of corruption in a report from Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren that was commissioned in the wake of a documentary broadcast by ARD in Germany, which led to the downfall of former IWF President Tamás Aján.
Thailand’s Yodbangtoey then stepped down and was succeeded by British doctor Mike Irani.
In a statement dated October 23, the IOC warned it “remains highly concerned about the confusing decisions taken by the IWF Board…particularly as regards the chosen replacements as Acting President, as well as the global governance of the International Federation”.
The IOC said it “reserves the right to take further measures depending on any future developments, including but not limited to a review of the place of weightlifting on the programme of the Olympic Games Paris 2024”.
insidethegames understands there will not be any formal decision on the IWF tomorrow, but the update could provide further indication as to the direction it is heading.
The NOCRB is being investigated by the IOC following allegations from athletes that the organisation has been discriminating against them for speaking out and participating in protests aimed at President Alexander Lukashenko, who also heads the country’s National Olympic Committee.
Belarusian athletes who claim they have been targeted by the NOCRB have called on the IOC to suspend the organisation, which could see the nation’s flag and anthem banned from Tokyo 2020.
In October the IOC expressed its “serious concern” with regard to the overall situation of the sporting community in Belarus, adding that it would “continue to monitor the situation of Belarusian athletes in advance of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, and remains open to receiving any further information relating to athlete discrimination on the grounds of political views if these athletes are under the authority of the NOC”.