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The show must go on

SPORTS EYE - Raffy Uytiepo (The Freeman) - May 4, 2021 - 12:00am

It’s barely three months to the Tokyo Olympics and things are getting harder for the organizers, with several countries thinking twice on sending their athletes. The Covid 19 pandemic continues to put uncertainties on the Games. North Korea announced  its not sending a delegation to Tokyo while hundreds of Japanese towns and and cities might just cancel plans to host Olympic teams. The western town  of Okuizomo for instance, is scraping the visit of India’s hockey team for pre-Games training camp. The town already spent over $5 million to upgrade sports facilities. India at the moment is reeling from the virus, registering over 200,000 deaths. It’s doubtful if it will send a team to the Games. To recall, more than 500 municipalities signed up to host athletes and officials.  As I write this column, the IOC announced that fans from abroad will be banned. Tokyo Organizing Committee CEO Toshiko Muto said 600,000 tickets has already been sold to the fans but this pales in comparison to the 4.45 million sold to Japan residents. Muto also said his committee is not responsible for refunds on hotel and airline flights. If Muto could speak Cebuano, he would have said “Maputo ta ani” (We will go bankrupt).

Vaccines

There’s another Covid 19 spike in Japan and vaccine roll out seems to be slow. The IOC is encouraging as many vaccinations as possible. 11,000 Olympic and 4,400 Paralympic athletes will not be required to have a vaccine to enter Japan. The overall cost of the Games is officially 15.4 billion, the largest on record.  Despite all these problems, however, organizers said the show must go on.

Game fixing

After that shameful act of the Siquijor Mystics in the Pilipinas Vismin Super Cup, the issue of game fixing seems to be not going away. I don’t know if you call that game-fixing but on April 2, 1987, in a close game between the Houston Rockets and the Phoenix Suns, starting forward Ralph Sampson did not play in the fourth quarter.  Hakeem Olajuwon sat the final 8:31 and forward Rod McCray played only 4:43 of the period. Even when Houston got within one shot (96-94) with 6:42 to play, coach Bill Fitch did not substitute. Sampson, Olajuwon and McCray were seen laughing on the bench. Did Fitch held their punches?  Dallas Mavericks coach Dick Motta who was watching the game, suggested that the Rockets were “messing around” in order to set up a favorable play-off schedule, which meant avoiding the deadly Los Angeles Lakers as long as possible. The NBA didn’t like his comments and suspended Motta for one game and a fine of $5,000.00.

Did you know?

SPIRIDON BELOKAS of Greece took third place in the 1896 Athens Olympic marathon but fourth-placer Gyulla Kellner of Hungary protested that Belokas has ridden part of the way in a carriage.  Belokas confessed he cheated and was stripped of both  his medal and his shirt.

DIKEMBE MUTOMBO.The NBA center’s complete name is Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean Jacque Wamutumbo.

TOKYO OLYMPICS
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