Bengaluru, August 6: The giant Olympic rings monument installed at Tokyo Bay's waterfront for the 2020 Summer Games was temporarily removed for maintenance on Thursday (August 6) and will return in December when Japan heads into the final stretch of preparations for the rescheduled event.
It may be recalled that the Olympics was pushed back by a year in March due to the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
If everything had gone as per schedule, Thursday would have been Day 14 of the Tokyo 2020 Games.
The monument, which was installed seven months ago and stands 15.3m tall and 32.6m wide, will be cleaned and undergo a safety inspection before being re-installed.
"Since it'll be not on display for four months, it's kind of sad," Tokyo Metropolitan Government Planning Director Atsushi Yanashimizu was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.
"But I consider in a positive way that we'll make sure it'll be clean and securely maintained when it comes back in four months," he added.
When the rings are re-installed in December organisers will hope to have a better idea as to whether the Games can go ahead in Tokyo next year amid continuing concerns about COVID-19.
Many online surveys conducted in recent times have have either suggested a further postponement or total cancellation of Tokyo Olympics.
Most of those backing a delay or cancellation said they simply did not believe the pandemic could be contained in time for the Games.
Even now, there is no guarantee that the Games will be held in a year's time if the current COVID-19 crisis continues.
International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach has time and again said that if the Games is not held next year, then it may not be possible to find a suitable window to host the biggest sporting spectacle in the near future.
As the countdown clock has been reset for the new opening date of July 23, 2021, Tokyo, needs to find answers for all these questions sooner or later.
Tokyo 2020 Games Organising Committe President Yoshiro Mori was bang on target while saying that it will be impossible to hold the Games unless a vaccine is found to contain the virus, a sentiment shared by World Athletics chief Sebastian Coe.
(With inputs from Agencies)