Athletes’ Tokyo stay cut short

Athletes’ Tokyo stay cut short

LAUSANNE • Athletes at next year’s Tokyo Olympics will have a shorter than usual stay at the world’s biggest multi-sports event due to tight Covid-19 health protocols.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach has urged national Olympic committees to adapt athletes’ and support staff travel plans so that they do not arrive too early or stay too long in Japan so as to minimise the risk of infections.

“National Olympic committees should adapt the arrival and departure policies to ensure that athletes can arrive five days prior to the start of the competition and depart a maximum two days after completion of competition,” the German told a virtual news conference on Monday.

“This applies to each sport’s specific officials, not only athletes. Exceptions will be considered subject to certain sport specific criteria.”

This means athletes competing in the second week of the July 23-Aug 8 Olympics will not be present for the traditional parade at the opening ceremony of the Games, while those contesting early will miss out on the closing ceremony.

The IOC added there would also be tighter controls on who can stay in the athletes’ village to protect the competitors.

The pandemic has forced the unprecedented postponement of the Tokyo Games by a year.

With more than 10,000 athletes from across the world expected for the Games, there are fears that their arrival could cause a spike in Covid-19 cases, so authorities and organisers are keen to limit their movement outside of competition.

Separately, breakdancing, surfing, skateboarding and sports climbing have won spots at the next Olympics after the IOC ratified their inclusion on Monday, Bach said.

The Paris 2024 organising committee had last year proposed the four sports for inclusion and was waiting on a final review by the IOC’s executive board.

Surfing, sports climbing and skateboarding are already part of the Tokyo Games.

    10,000 Athletes from around the world are expected to arrive in Tokyo for the Olympic Games next year.

Paris organisers have said they want to deliver a programme that is in keeping with the times and will attract a new and younger audience.

Under new IOC rules first introduced for Tokyo 2020, Olympic host cities can hand-pick sports and propose them for inclusion in those Games if these are popular in that country and add to the appeal.

The IOC also trimmed the overall events for Paris by 10 to 329 compared to the Tokyo Games, while increasing mixed gender events from 18 in Tokyo to 22.

“With this programme, we are making the Olympic Games Paris 2024 fit for the post-corona world,” Bach said.

“We are further reducing the cost and complexity of hosting the Games. There is also a strong focus on youth.”

The IOC also capped the total athlete quota at 10,500, while there will be a 50-50 split between male and female athletes in Paris, up from 48.8 per cent women in Tokyo.

“While we will achieve gender equality already at the upcoming Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, we will see for the first time in Olympic history the participation of the exact same number of female athletes as male athletes,” Bach said.

Jean-Philippe Gatien, sports director for Paris 2024, added: “It’s a nice reference to the 1900 Paris Olympics, when it was the first time that women were at the Games… It will be Games that are young, urban and creative.”

REUTERS