The Japanese turned their backs on the Olympic athletes as Covid’s anxiety escalated

Towns across Japan have canceled plans to host athletes ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, leaving competitors with little chance of encountering and threatening competitive distortions in most sporting events. in the world.

The local holding camp is a important part of preparation for many Olympic athletes, which allows them to train, acquire and bond as a team before moving to the Olympic Village or directly to their competition venue.

But the weight of the Covid -19 bans – which apply even if athletes are vaccinated – has pushed many cities to cancel, highlighting how Japan is determined to stage in the Olympics during a pandemic is to fix the logistics of the event.

Seriously heat and moisture the Tokyo summer means athletes will fight if they can’t adapt to local conditions as quickly as possible, especially if Covid-19 prevents them from leaving their home country to train appropriately. climate.

Sebastian Coe, president of World Athletics, told a press conference in Tokyo that the athletes accepted that they had little time to assemble.

“On the track and field, we know that athletes don’t go to the village more than a few days in advance. The chances that they are in the camps are limited,” he said.

But Coe insisted that the lack of time to get used to the hot and humid conditions would not affect competition. “Everyone is in the same boat,” he said. “[The athletes]. . . more here than sitting at the dance. ”

The U.S. track and field team has abandoned plans for a pre-Olympics training camp in Chiba province outside Tokyo citing safety concerns, according to local officials.

Tokyo remains under a state of emergency as Japan struggles to get it. vaccination campaign from the ground. Currently, the country provides an initial dose of the vaccine to only 3 percent of its population, and current polls suggest 60 percent of the public would like to cancel the games.

Olympic athletes and logistics staff have been able to enter the country from April 23. Credentials for the games double as a visa, bypassing Japan’s Covid-19 bans, which restricts most foreigners who can enter the country for more than one year.

However, athletes and officials traveling to games must comply with a long list of precautions, including approving all travel plans, regularly testing Covid-19 and avoiding contact with the Japanese public. Failure to comply may result in penalties and even expulsion from games.

For many Japanese cities, interacting with athletes is the whole point of hosting camps. The partnership between local communities and teams at the Rugby World Cup, which Japan will host in 2019, is considered one of the high score in that tournament.

France's Guilhem Guirado poses with a Japanese fan after a Fujiyoshida training session ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup

France’s Guilhem Guirado poses with a Japanese fan after a training session at Fujiyoshida ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup © Franck Fife / AFP via Getty Images

Municipal officials fear the pre -Olympic testing regime will deplete the medical resources they need to launch vaccines for their local population. The town of Izunokuni, southwest of Tokyo, will host a pre-Olympic camp for Mongolia’s judo team but said such plans have been canceled.

“They want to do it in June and that will be difficult in practice,” said Masaru Kojima, of the town’s sport department. “It requires daily PCR [polymerase chain reaction] trials and complete separation from the majority. ”He said the town hopes to host a camp before the Paralympics in August.

Okuizumo, a remote town in western Japan, is a stronghold of farm hockey and has invested heavily in facilities to prepare the Indian team for a pre-Olympic camp. Plans have now been abandoned.

“We need to improve the mobility of the athletes, their habitat and to ensure there is no contact with local people. It is most difficult for us to reach the conditions,” said Katsumi Naase, an official in the city.

“We hope there will be an exchange between local school children and Indian players and that will not be possible.”

The city of Kurihara in Miyagi prefecture plans to host the South African hockey team. Instead of appointing its staff to chaperone athletes and conducting Covid-19 tests, the city decided that officials should launch their own vaccination campaign. The host city plan was canceled.

However, Tokyo’s Nerima ward says it will continue to host the Danish shooting team and track and field squad in Ecuador, suggesting that some teams have a more settled stage of preparation than others. The Tokyo metropolis has commercial providers for Covid-19 trials, which reduces stress on local facilities, according to Motoko Usui of the ward office.

“The difference for us is we’re part of the host city,” he said. “It’s hard for us to imagine a cancellation.”

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