Olympic Federation encouraged over chances of Tokyo Olympics taking place

Athletes will face rigorous regime of testing before and throughout Games

Team Ireland chef de mission for the Tokyo Olympics Tricia Heberle. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Team Ireland chef de mission for the Tokyo Olympics Tricia Heberle. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

 

Following a meeting for all Olympic team chefs de mission the expectations of the Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI) is that the Olympic Games will proceed in Tokyo next summer but with a good deal of measures in place, due to the Covid-19 virus, that will change the nature of the event.

The optimistic outlook comes after reassurances from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that measures are being put in place to ensure that this happens with or without a vaccine.

In an update on Wednesday at the launch of ‘Sports Governance: A Guide for Sporting Entities’, the take homes for Irish athletes, over 50 of whom have already qualified for Tokyo, is that they will have to undergo repeated testing.

In addition, there will be detailed whereabouts forms, which everyone will have to complete, the overall effect being that the athletes at the Games will enjoy quite a different experience than most of those that went before them.

“I recently attended an online chef de mission seminar; it was the first one since the postponement of Tokyo 2020,” said Team Ireland chef de mission Tricia Heberle.

“From that meeting we gathered some information about how Tokyo might look from an athlete perspective. We are encouraged by the measures that are being put in place and believe that those measures should see a safe Games taking place next year. The experience may be different from an athlete perspective, but the most important thing is that the athletes will get an opportunity to compete fairly.”

The IOC have also said there will be a general movement from scale and size of the Games to a safer and simplified model. International events have already restarted in 17 summer Olympic sports, in 20 different countries.

The current situation in professional sports in Japan and the maximum limit of 5,000 per venue has been relaxed, allowing 50 per cent of gross capacity if the strict hygiene conditions are met.

The Irish athletes will undergo a 14-day health monitor and a test 72 hours before travelling to Japan. They will again be tested on arrival, in the host town, at the Olympic Village and training venues and throughout the Games. They are again tested and monitored before they are transported back to the host town post Games and prior to travelling home.

“Infection prevention measures have to be taken by every person with the same standard of care in every location with high personal responsibility,” added Heberle.

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