Ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games, India’s Olympic body has slammed the rules imposed by the Japanese government on athletes from several Covid-hit nations. The organisers have included additional measures to reduce infection risks from several countries, including India, that have seen a significant impact from variants of Covid-19.
According to the protocols, athletes from severe Covid-hit countries like India will have to undergo daily testing for a week before they depart for Japan. In addition, they are instructed to refrain from coming into contact with other teams for three days after their arrival in Japan.
Calling the rules unfair, the Indian Olympic Association said with the new rules in place, the athletes would lose three crucial training days. Athletes are allowed to arrive in the Games village only five days before their event. Now three days will be wasted, this is the time the athletes need to be moving towards their mode to peak… highly unfair for Indian athletes, who have worked hard for five years, to be discriminated against just five days before the Olympics, IOA president Narinder Batra and secretary Rajeev Mehta said in a joint statement.
Further, the sports administrator said that a total of 11 countries, including India, Pakistan, and the UK, would be affected. Where and when will the athletes have their breakfast, lunch, dinner during these three days, as everyone has food in the Games village food hall where all athletes and officials of other NOCs (National Olympic Committees) are present all the time. Where can athletes train? because practice/training areas are never empty and athletes and officials of other NOCs are present all the time, the IOA president added.
The Tokyo 2020 organisers have said they had received a document from India’s Olympic body. The organisers have stated that for participants from areas such as India that have seen significant impact from variants, it is necessary that they follow more stringent rules than those outlined in the (athletes) Playbook, and are similar to the existing border control measures.
However, the organisers did not make it clear whether athletes from the affected countries would be allowed to train in the three days after their arrival.
India’s Olympic body, meanwhile, has ensured that Indian athletes will be fully vaccinated before the Games starting 23 July. Earlier, the International Olympic Committee had also said six countries – Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka had pledged to fully vaccinate their delegations and conduct additional testing.
Meanwhile, the upcoming multi-sport mega event, Tokyo 2020, will be held from 23 July to 8 August 2021. Some Indian athletes, including javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra and wrestler Vinesh Phogat, are training abroad and will travel to Tokyo from their respective locations. The rest of the Olympic team will depart from India.