Tokyo Olympics: IPL scare not deterring New Zealand's Olympic contingent ahead of Tokyo Games

The ongoing situation with COVID-19 in India is playing no part in New Zealand's future participation in the Tokyo Olympics.

On Tuesday, the Indian Premier League was suspended indefinitely, as multiple players and staff at more than one franchise tested positive for the virus.

Japan, and Tokyo in particular are also struggling with COVID, as the nation recorded 4,475 new cases on Wednesday. Japan is currently in a state of emergency, with the Tokyo Olympics scheduled to begin on July 23.

But while the IPL situation shows how quickly COVID-19 can force a sporting event into chaos, the New Zealand Olympic Committee says that India and Japan should not be compared.

"Planning for the Tokyo Olympic Games is progressing well with Games Organisers and the Japanese Government committed to hosting a very different but still safe and successful Games in July and August," NZOC chief executive Kereyn Smith tells Newshub. 

"We have a high level of confidence in the work of Japanese authorities supported by the World Health Organisation to plan for and put in place the protective measures required.

"We feel for the people of India and note that there is no comparison between their COVID situation and the status of the virus in Japan.

"The NZOC is however aware of the need for effective and well delivered countermeasures. 

"In addition to those measures put in place by Tokyo 2020 the NZOC will have its own health protocols in place to prioritise and further protect the New Zealand Team environment."

New Zealand's Minister for Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson also concurs that India's woes aren't comparable to Japan's, but concedes that the decision will ultimately come down to the IOC.

"Obviously that's a decision for the International Olympic Committee," Mr Robertson says. 

"They'll be working with the Japanese government on that.

"I think the situation in India and Japan are a little different. Obviously both countries, along with many other countries in the world are still grappling with COVID.

"But in terms of the Olympics, that's a decision for the IOC."

Mr Robertson also says that no risk will be taken in the staging of the Tokyo Olympics, and the Games will only be held if they can be done so safely.

"Obviously, that's what will be in the mind of the IOC and the Japanese government. The New Zealand Olympic Committee has been working closely with them.

"I'm sure the event will only be held if it can be held safely."