The entire global sporting community has trained it’s attention on the upcoming 2021 Tokyo Olympics. The prestigious Games were supposed to take place last year but had to be postponed owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Tokyo Olympics are slated to begin on 23rd July. Guidelines and restrictions have been put in place to avoid the spread of the deadly virus. All the athletes have been asked to check into the Games Village five days prior to the beginning of their competition.
However, Japan has now imposed further restrictions on certain delegations including India. This move may be prompted by the horrific second surge of the virus that ravaged through the country recently.
The restrictions on the delegations include a three-day quarantine period on arrival. The Indian delegation cannot interact with other teams and aren’t allowed to train at the same time as them. India has been clubbed in Group 1 with Afghanistan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. “Before you travel: You must be tested every day, for seven days, prior to your departure to Japan,” the advisory for Group 1 countries stated.
“Physical distancing: For seven days prior to your departure to Japan, you must keep your physical interaction with all others, including from another team, delegation or country, to an absolute minimum,” it added.
IOA questions the new restrictions imposed for the Tokyo Olympics
The COVID-19 situation in India has relatively improved after the catastrophic second wave hit the country. The number of daily cases is declining from more than 3 lakhs a few weeks back to just over 60,000 right now.
The new restrictions imposed by Japan on certain delegations including India for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics has however left the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) fuming.
IOA president Narinder Batra along with secretary general Rajeev Mehta questioned these new restrictions in a joint statement. “Athletes are allowed to arrive in the Games Village only 5 days before their event. Now 3 days will be wasted, this is the time the Athletes need to be moving towards their mode to Peak. Highly unfair for Indian Athletes,” the joint statement read.
The IOA also raised concerns regarding the diets of the competing Indian athletes. “Where and when will the Athletes have their Breakfast, Lunch Dinner etc during these 3 days, as everyone has food in the Games village food hall where all Athletes and officials of other NOCs are present all the time,” the statement said.
“If Food Packets are being delivered outside the Rooms of the Athletes then who will plan their body requirements like Proteins, food preferences etc and will it not affect the performance of athletes, who will not not get their preferred diet, just 5 days before the Olympics,” it added.
Several athletes like weightlifter Mirabai Chanu, javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, wrestler Vinesh Phogat are training abroad. They will be arriving in Tokyo from their respective locations. However, a majority of the Indian contingent will be leaving for the Games from India.
IOA questions need for new restrictions
Stricter regulations have been put in place for all travellers including athletes, coaches and support staff within 14 days of their arrival in Tokyo, who have resided in the 11 countries where a new variant of the virus was found. India has been included in Group 1.
Along with dietary requirements, IOA has also expressed concern over proper training routines for the Olympic bound players. “Where and when will the Athletes practice as practice/training areas are never empty and Athletes and officials of other NOCs are present all the time,” the statement read.
IOA has also questioned the need to impose new restrictions as all the Indian athletes will be fully vaccinated and tested daily for a week before their departure for the Tokyo Olympics. “While we respect any country’s decision to keep their country safe and secure, the athletes going out of India will be Double Vaccinated, have RTPCR tests done every day for last 7 days before leaving…” it said.
“…then why make the Athletes suffer at a time when they need to peak, once again highly unfair for Indian Athletes who have worked hard for 5 years to be discriminated against just 5 days before the Olympics,” the IOA statement added.