Brian Lewis, president of the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) said this country’s athletes will be affected no more than their international counterparts from the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) decision to limit the stay of athletes at the Olympic Village.
The Olympic online website yesterday revealed that athletes will be expected to arrive in the Tokyo 2020 Athletes’ Village five days prior to their competition at Tokyo 2020 and depart a maximum of two days afterwards.
IOC president Thomas Bach said: “The International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirmed it had requested National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to adapt their arrival and departure plans to fit in with these new rules designed to reduce the risk of coronavirus.”
He noted also following an executive meeting, that the decision was taken to minimise the number of people living in the Athletes’ Village.
“We think that this is absolutely necessary because we need to reduce and minimise the number of residents in the Olympic Village to minimise the risk of COVID exposure,” Bach said.
But Lewis explained that T&T’s athletes will not be affected more than any other, saying: “No one country would have an advantage over the other. The COVID-19 has resulted in the shutting down of sports and very strict public health guidelines and lockdowns etc so it’s the reality of COVID-19.
“The T&T Olympic Committee, we have been preparing and looking at different scenarios with our medical team, the Chef de Mission Ms Lovie Santana, and we have been having ongoing meetings so it’s not an unexpected situation, at the end of the day the priority of the Olympic Committee remains the safety of our athletes, coaches administrators, medical team etc, so we are focused on meeting whatever counter-measures that the Tokyo Olympic organisers put in place, along with the IOC executive.”
Lewis and his team at the TTOC have been in constant contact with the local athletes and finding ways to ensure they would be fully fit and ready when the Games begin.
“We are looking at making the necessary adjustments to our pre-Games training camp, and we have to make the necessary logistical adjustments, and we are working closely with our travel consultant Denise Dyer on that so no surprises there, we anticipated different scenarios once the IOC confirmed the Games are on.”
Though the IOC wants to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, Bach said they still wanted to ensure athletes gained the experience and acclimatise: “At the same time, we wanted to maintain the athletes’ experience. We wanted to be balanced with the considerations about athletic performance and also with attendance at the Opening Ceremony.”
The guidance advises that in cases where travel time to Japan and time difference is minimal, the number of days spent in the Olympic Village prior to the competition should be shorter.
Where possible, athletes are expected to acclimatise to the time differences in pre-Games training camps in Japan rather than in the Olympic Village.