Now that the rainy season is finally over and we are being bombarded with nonstop media reports of heat waves and heatstroke, it is surely time to reflect once again on the lunacy of holding next year’s Olympics in July and August.

Much focus has been on the marathon, the start of which has been moved from 7:30 a.m. to 6 a.m. (not early enough, in my opinion), but there are potential problems for every sport that is played outdoors, not just for the participants but also for spectators.

Let us consider one sport: the rugby sevens. Every year there are 10 sevens tournaments played around the world, which typically follow the same pattern: two days of matches building up to a finale on the evening of the second day. They are a great sporting and social occasion, typified by the huge popularity of the Hong Kong Sevens tournament.

Contrast this with the Tokyo Olympic rugby sevens, which will be held over three days with a morning session and an afternoon session, each requiring a separate ticket. The decision to avoid the heat of the day makes perfect sense from the perspective of the players’ well-being, but what of the spectators? If we rugby fans are lucky enough to buy tickets for two sessions on the same day, what do we do between noon and 4:30? And if we aren’t so lucky, will we really want to pay an inflated price for only one three-hour session?

On the subject of prices, it is worth noting that a three-day ticket for the Hong Kong Sevens this year cost 1,950 Hong Kong dollars, or approximately ¥26,500. By contrast Category B tickets for all six sessions of the Men’s Sevens next year will cost ¥56,000.

I am as devoted a rugby fan as you will ever meet, but I have serious doubts about attending next year’s event, even if I can obtain tickets. Why? Because the format is wrong, for the simple reason that the event is being held at the wrong time of the year.


The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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