OFI chief outlines the likely differences at Tokyo Games

Peter Sherrard says bubble around athletes’ village will be very strict for duration

Olympic Federation of Ireland CEO Peter Sherrard is confident the Tokyo Games will go ahead. Photo: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Olympic Federation of Ireland chief executive Peter Sherrard has said that the organisation has a “high degree of confidence,” that the full schedule of events will go ahead as planned at the Tokyo Games this summer but that athletes will have to prepare for what is likely to be a very different Olympic experience.

"We remain very much the view that the event will go ahead and at the end of July," Sherrard said at a conference organised by Sport for Business shortly after IOC chief Thomas Bach had told Japanese media that there is "no plan B.

“I think our big issue is to help prepare the athletes and the coaches and the support staff for the fact that it will be a very different type of Games.

“All the messages that we’re getting from Tokyo, the Tokyo Organising Committee and from the IOC are that effectively that they’re going to operate a bubble around the athletes’ village.


“There will be dedicated corridors for athletes to go from there to training venues, and then to competition venues. We know that they will be only be allowed come into the athletes’ village bubble five days before a competition, there will be very, very rigorous, two-week long protocols in relation to testing prior to them coming in and they will have to leave that athletes’ village 48 hours after competition.

“A lot of the athletes would be quite used to staying on to enjoy the rest of the competition. Athletes would have, post competition, normally have enjoyed going to see other athletes from the team in competition. That won’t be possible.

“So, it is a challenge, but it’s one that we’re working very closely with our sports on. And I think the biggest thing for the athletes, in particular, is that the Games can go ahead. Obviously there are some factors that they have to take into account in terms of the changes, but they would be unanimously of the view that they would much prefer to be taking part in the Olympic Games than not to be taking part.”

Sherrard said that 52 athletes have so far qualified to represent Ireland at the Games and that he expects that number to rise to around 75 but acknowledged that there is ongoing uncertainty in relation to the qualification system in many sports with a long list scheduled events that would normally be used as a pathway to the Games currently “up in the air”.

He said, however, that a number of federations “are looking at qualifying people in other ways,” while it is hoped that many events will take place as planned closer to the summer.

“A lot of the qualification will likely be April, May June, which is quite ordinary actually within Olympic sports. People do tend to qualify quite late on.”