A spokesman for the Japanese government on Wednesday said the International Olympic Committee and local organizers are going as planned with the Tokyo Olympics despite the threat of the spreading coronavirus.
The comments from spokesman Yoshihide Suga follow the assertion by IOC veteran member Richard Pound that organizers face a three-month window to decide the fate of the games.
The Olympics are set to open on July 24 with 11,000 athletes. The Paralympics open Aug. 25 with 4,400.
Pound told the Associated Press that the fast-spreading virus could cancel the Olympics. Suga says Pound's opinion does not reflect the official view of the IOC, which has repeatedly said there are no plans to cancel or postpone the Tokyo Games.
The viral outbreak that began in China has infected more than 80,000 people and killed more than 2,700 globally. China has reported 2,715 deaths among 78,064 cases on the mainland. Five deaths in Japan have been attributed to the virus and the COVID-19 illness it causes.
"With regard to this member's comment, the IOC has responded that this is not their official position, and that the IOC is proceeding with preparations toward the games as scheduled," Suga said, speaking in Japanese at his daily news conference.
Pound is a former IOC vice-president and a member since 1978, and was the founding president of the World Anti-Doping Agency.
He also represented Canada as a swimmer at the Olympics.
In a telephone interview from Montreal, Pound said the IOC has a three-month window to decide, and suggested other options like moving events of postponing seemed less likely.
"In and around that time," he said, "I'd say folks are going to have to ask: 'Is this under sufficient control that we can be confident about going to Tokyo or now?'"
If the IOC decides the games cannot go forward as scheduled in Tokyo, "you're probably looking at a cancellation," said Pound, who repeated the IOC's stance that as of now the games are on.
The three-month window also goes for sponsors and television broadcasters who need to firm up planning. Not to mention travelers, athletes and fans with 7.8 million tickets available for the Olympics and 2.3 million for the Paralympics.
As the games draw near, Pound said, "a lot of things have to start happening You've got to start ramping up your security, your food, the Olympic Village, the hotels. The media folks will be in their building their studios."
The threat of the virus seems to be growing.
At a government task force meeting Wednesday on the virus outbreak, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he was asking organizers to cancel or postpone major sports or cultural events over the next two weeks.
"The next one to two weeks is extremely important for the prevention of the escalation of the infection," Abe said. "We ask organizers to cancel, postpone or scale down the size of such events."
He did not name specific events but said he was speaking about nationwide events that attract large crowds.
Olympics Minister Seiko Hashimoto, speaking in parliament, said "we believe it is necessary to make a worst case scenario in order to improve our operation to achieve success." She added plans were being made "so that we can safely hold the Tokyo Olympics."
The final round of the Bangabandhu First Security Islami Bank National School Hockey Tournament will begin at the Maulana Bhashani National Stadium here on Wednesday.
Mymensingh Police Lines School will face Rangpur Shishu Niketan School in the opening match at 10am while Cumilla Rafiquddin Memorial High School will encounter Faridpur Police Lines High School in the other opening day’s fixture at 3:30pm.
Managing Director of the meet’s sponsor First Security Islami Bank Syed Mohammad Wasek Ali and Air Officer Commanding of BAF Base Bangabandhu Air Vice-Marshall Mohammad Sayed Hossain will inaugurate the final round of the meet in the afternoon.
Eighteen school teams from nine zonal venues have been qualified for the final round.
Ricky Rubio had 22 points, 11 assists and seven steals to lead the Phoenix Suns TO A 131-111 victory over the reeling Utah Jazz on Monday night.
In his first game back in Salt Lake City after playing for the Jazz for two seasons, Rubio led an offense that shot 56% and seemed a step ahead of the Jazz all night.
Devin Booker had 24 points and 10 assists while Deandre Ayton added 16 for the Suns.
Donovan Mitchell scored 38 points and Bojan Bogdanovic added 16 for Utah. The Jazz made a season-high 37 free throws — on 43 attempts — but looked disjointed while committing 19 turnovers.
The Suns made three 3-pointers in a row to get some breathing room, and then Jevon Carter made a layup and Kelly Oubre dunked to take a 99-88 lead into the fourth quarter.
Oubre dunked over Gobert early in the fourth quarter and let him know all about it, drawing a technical foul.
Rubio made an off-balance 3-pointer from the corner that brought audible gasps from the Utah crowd. The knock on Rubio in Utah was that he wasn't enough of a perimeter threat to keep defenses from sagging.
The Suns made their first five shots and set the tone early that if the Jazz weren't going to stop their drives, they were headed for a big night. The Suns outscored the Jazz in the paint 66-42.
Rubio, who also had six rebounds, had 13 points in the first half as the Suns shot 59.5 percent and matched the Jazz at 62-62 at the break.
Known for their defense over the past few years, the Jazz suddenly can't stop anyone as they dropped their third straight home game for the first time since early last season.
Suns: Ayton got a technical foul 8:00 before halftime. ... Phoenix shot 65 percent in the opening quarter and still trailed 35-27. ... The Suns had 33 assists.
Jazz: Former Jazz point guard Deron Williams sat courtside. ... Quin Snyder was hit with a technical with 7:11 left in second quarter. ... Mike Conley, Rubio's replacement at the point, had eights and one assist.
Suns: Host the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night to open a six-game homestand.
Jazz: Host Boston on Wednesday night.
Sabrina Ionescu's strength inspired her Oregon coaches and teammates all day, from the way she courageously spoke at the memorial service for Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles earlier in the day, then flew back to the Bay Area and took the court shortly after vomiting in the locker room, all before leading the Ducks with yet another brilliant performance on both ends.
And doing something never done before in college basketball, by a man or a woman.
Ionescu became the first player in NCAA history to reach 2,000 points, 1,000 assists and 1,000 rebounds and notched her record 26th career triple-double, too, leading No. 3 Oregon past fourth-ranked Stanford 74-66 on Monday night.
Ionescu wasn't made available to the media for a second straight game, speaking to ESPN on Monday.
"That one was for him. To do it on 2-24-20 was huge," she told the network. "We talked about it in the preseason. I can't put it into words. He's looking down and proud of me and happy for this moment with my team."
Ionescu hit the milestone on a defensive rebound with 1:47 remaining in the third quarter and finished with 21 points, 12 assists and 12 rebounds in her first triple-double against a top-10 opponent and eighth overall this season to help Oregon (26-2, 15-1 Pac-12) clinch at least a share of its third straight Pac-12 regular-season title.
"Incredible. I thought she was so poised and so heartfelt today," said coach Kelly Graves, whose wife Mary accompanied Ionescu. "At her age and relative limited experience and things like that, I just thought she nailed it. It was amazing, and she wrote that, and that was from her. She's pretty special in more ways that just what you're seeing on the court."
Ionescu also had a triple-double Friday night at California while playing near her East Bay hometown of Walnut Creek, then delivered her eighth career road triple-double for the Ducks on an emotional day just hours after attending the service for Bryant and daughter, Gianna, in Southern California.
"I don't know many people that could have done what she did today," Graves said. "... I knew this was the way it was going to end tonight for her. I'm glad that it ended in a victory but I knew that she was going to get that. It's so fitting that she did it tonight."
Hall of Fame Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer wasn't surprised by Ionescu's toughness despite her difficult day.
"She's a player. I didn't expect anything different than what we saw," VanDerveer said.
She now has 2,467, 1,041 assists and 1,003 rebounds, helping Oregon secure Monday at least 15 conference wins for a third consecutive season. Ionescu shot 9 for 19, missing her three 3-point attempts. She had plenty of help from Satou Sabally, who scored 27 points on 10-for-17 shooting with four 3-pointers.
"When she came back, we were there for her. It wasn't the easiest day but she always has our backs so it was our turn to have her back," Sabally said. "We just lifted her up."
Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry sat on the baseline supporting Ionescu and women's basketball for the second straight game she played in Northern California after he was in Berkeley with his two daughters Friday night. He watched Oregon run its winning streak to 14 in a row and nine straight on the road.
"You kind of try and hide some of those emotions. To speak was such an honor for me," Ionescu said. "I tried to do everything I could to hold it together tonight and my team helped me do that."
The Ducks used a big second half to beat the Cardinal 87-55 on Jan. 16 in Eugene, then held off a late flurry by Stanford (24-4, 13-3) this time on a night Lexie Hull scored 27 points with six 3-pointers.
The Cardinal had their four-game winning streak snapped with just a second defeat at Maples Pavilion this season.
Oregon jumped out to a 25-10 lead then led 32-22 at halftime after four turnovers late in the second quarter allowed Stanford to stay close.
"I think they're the No. 1 team in the country. They have all the weapons," VanDerveer said. "They've got great experience. Kelly does a fantastic job with them in terms of they know what they're doing out there. They're a very well coached team, they're a very skilled team. I was disappointed that we honestly didn't give them a better game."
Ionescu's left sneaker featured "Mamba Mentality" written on it along with "Forever 24" as well as a "24" on the back.
Curry also attended the service for Bryant and daughter, Gianna.
"I can't imagine how emotional it was for everyone in that arena. To be at her age with all that she's got going on and her connection to Kobe and Gigi and to give a speech in front of 19,000 people all mourning was unbelievable," Curry told ESPN. "She spoke so well. Now she's out here representing them playing her heart out.
"That's sustained greatness. She came back her senior year for a reason to get the national championship. She's blazing a trail no one has stepped foot in."
Oregon: Oregon won its ninth game against a Top-25 opponent during the winning streak, sixth vs. a Top-10 teams and third when facing a top-five program. ... The Ducks are outscoring opponents by 24.8 points during the winning streak. They haven't lost since a road defeat at Arizona State in Tempe on Jan. 10. ... The Ducks are 11-1 on the road.
Stanford: Nadia Fingall had 12 rebounds as the Cardinal held a 36-34 advantage on the boards. ... Stanford dropped to 14-2 at home.
South Korean soccer authorities have indefinitely postponed the start of the 2020 domestic season.
The K League made the announcement after an emergency meeting in Seoul on Monday as the country grapples with the viral outbreak that began in China and has infected more than 79,000 people globally. The number of reported cases in South Korea reached 833 on Monday, including seven deaths. Mainland China has reported 2,592 deaths among 77,150 cases.
While the majority of infections in South Korea have been recorded in the southeastern city of Daegu, there are concerns the virus could spread nationwide.
On Friday, the K League postponed the opening games of the season for Daegu FC and nearby Pohang Steelers, scheduled to be held this Saturday, but now all games will be suspended until further notice.
"We have prepared for the season well but the virus is not something to be taken lightly," Gangwon FC coach Kim Byung-soo said. "We are worried about it spreading around the country and this is more important than preparing for the season and the right decision has been taken. Players and coaching staff all have to be careful."
The organization also decided that the Asian Champions League games set to be hosted by South Korean clubs in March will go ahead, but in empty stadiums.
The group stage of the continental tournament has already been disrupted by the viral outbreak, with games involving three of the four Chinese clubs involved in the tournament postponed until late April and early May.
The Chinese Super League was scheduled to kick off last weekend but has been delayed. The Chinese Football Association also announced last week that two 2022 World Cup qualifiers scheduled to take place in late March, against Guam and the Maldives, will be played in Thailand.