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78% Japanese Oppose to Holding Tokyo Olympics; Indians Most Buoyant: Survey

People walk by the Olympic rings installed by the Nippon Bashi bridge in Tokyo (AP)

People walk by the Olympic rings installed by the Nippon Bashi bridge in Tokyo (AP)

Sixty per cent of global citizens and 78 Japanese oppose holding the Olympics even as Urban Indians are most enthused about Tokyo 2020.

With the pandemic far from over and the postponed Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics slated to be held from July 23rd, 2021, after they were pushed due to the pandemic, last year, 6 in 10 (57%) global citizens give a thumbs down to Olympics, stating they should not be held in the midst of the raging pandemic, according to a global survey. India shows polarized views with only 1 in 2 (54%) favoring the Olympics to be held.

Host nation Japan has at least 78% disapproving of the Olympics to kick off smack in the middle of the pandemic. Top markets batting for the upcoming Olympics were, Turkey (71%), Saudi Arabia (66%), Russia (61%) and Poland (60%). And those against were South Korea (86%), Japan (78%) and Argentina (69%).

The results are of a 28-market survey conducted by Ipsos on its Global Advisor online platform. Ipsos interviewed a total of 19,510 adults aged 18-74 in the United States, Canada, Malaysia, South Africa, and Turkey, and 16- 74 in 23 other markets between 21st May and 4th June 2021.

Indians most buoyant about Tokyo Olympics

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Urban Indians were found to be most interested globally (70%), in the Tokyo Olympics, followed by South Africa (59%), China (57%), Poland (56%) and Turkey (56%). While the least interested nations included Belgium (72%), South Korea (70%), Japan (68%), France (68%) and Germany (67%). There is a huge resistance in the host nation for the Olympics to be held now.

Favourite Olympic Games Categories

Urban Indians are most interested in football/ soccer (37%), badminton (36%), tennis (28%), athletics/ track and field (26%), boxing (17%), gymnastics (15%), cycling (14%), among others.

Global citizens were most keen to watch, football/ soccer (30%), athletics/ track & field (27%), aquatics (22%), gymnastics (21%), volleyball (13%), tennis (12%), basketball (12%), cycling (10%), boxing (8%) and badminton (6%).

Impact of Olympics on Society

Firstly, Olympics have a positive impact and inspires tomorrows generation to participate in sport is the dominant view across all the 28 markets – at least 80% of global citizens polled back this view, 90% of urban Indians and Japan too has at least 59% agreeing.

Secondly, global citizens (65%) and urban Indians (94%) believe, Olympics bring citizens and their country together; have a unifying effect. Though Japan has only 37% agreeing.

Thirdly, Olympics is believed to bring nationalism to the fore. 3 in 4 urban Indians (75%) believe so. 1 in 2 global citizens (55%) too agree.

Priority Jabs for Athletes

While it would be already mandatory for all participants (players), at least 7 in 10 global citizens want priority vaccinations for all Olympic athletes. Markets endorsing this view most include China (92%), Saudi Arabia (89%), India (88%), Turkey (87%), South Korea (86%) and Malaysia (85%).

Govt funding must for athletes

2 in 3 global citizens (67%) and 86% urban Indians believe the govt should fund, support and cover the expenses of the athletes at the Olympics.

Olympics brings countries together

Interestingly, the overriding view across nations remains that the Olympic Games will be the opportunity for countries to be together and to bond, first time after the pandemic struck. 6 in 10 global citizens hold this view (62%); and the markets that endorsed this view most were, Turkey (81%), Saudi Arabia (81%), China (79%), Italy (78%), India (78%) and Peru (77%).

Interestingly, the host nation of Japan had only 3 in 10 believing in this rationale. The sentiment buoyed more towards not holding the event. South Korea too rejected this view and had the lowest support for the event as an opportunity for bonding (only 26% agreed).

“The 2020 Summer Olympics, branded as Tokyo 2020 and to be held between July 23-Aug 08, 2021 is already delayed by a year and while the host country is getting the jitters as the coronavirus is not yet contained and there are new cases of infections being reported from Japan. Japan is planning to host the Olympics with restrictions and quasi emergency – no audience, strict social distancing protocols and limiting of delegates over and above the players. There is less likelihood of the Olympics being cancelled, all the action will be witnessed and enjoyed virtually. Indians are polarised in their views about whether the Olympics should be a go or a no-go. Global citizens and the Japanese are against the Olympics being held now, bang in the middle of the pandemic. Remains to be seen if the organisers will bow to the popular sentiment and further postpone it. Big monies riding here and the logistics. They may just do a controlled event and get it out of the way," says Amit Adarkar, CEO, Ipsos India.

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first published:July 16, 2021, 08:56 IST