New Tokyo Olympics quarantine rules “highly unfair”: IOA
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has slammed stricter quarantine regulations imposed by Japan on athletes leaving from India for the Tokyo Olympics starting on July 23, calling it “discriminatory and highly unfair”.
In the latest advisory issued by Japan on Friday, athletes, support staff and officials arriving from 11 nations, including India, must be in a three-day quarantine on reaching Tokyo. They cannot “physically interact with anyone from another team, delegation or country” or train with any other team during that period. They also need to take Covid tests for seven days prior to leaving for Japan.
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The new rules are in addition to the Covid-related measures in place for athletes from every contingent.
IOA president Narinder Batra said since athletes are allowed into the Games Village only five days before their events, the three-day quarantine will impact their performances.
“This is the time athletes need to be moving towards their peak mode. It is highly unfair for Indian athletes,” Batra said. The IOA president and secretary-general Rajiv Mehta have also written to the Tokyo Games organisers on these lines.
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The new restrictions have also created confusion about the diet for athletes, he said.
“Where and when will the athletes have their breakfast, lunch and dinner during these three days as everyone has food in the Games Village dining area where all athletes and officials of other NOCs are present all the time,” he asked.
Batra said if the Indian athletes have to do with food packets delivered outside the rooms it will be difficult to follow their specific diet plans. “Will it not affect the performance of athletes, who will not get their preferred diet just five days before the Olympics?” he asked.
Since Indian athletes will be fully vaccinated and would have taken the RTPCR test daily for a week before leaving, why make them suffer at such a crucial time?
“It is highly unfair for Indian athletes who have worked hard for five years to be discriminated against five days before the Olympics.”
While many Indian medal prospects like the shooting team, wrestlers Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat, javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra and weightlifter Mirabai Chanu are training abroad and will fly to Tokyo directly, a big chunk of the contingent, including the track and field athletes, hockey teams, archers, boxers and rowers will travel from India and will be required to quarantine for three days unless the Games organisers ease the norms.
India is sending a contingent of over 100 athletes to the July 23-August 8 Games.