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Japanese turn their backs on Olympic athletes as Covid’s anxiety worsens

Japanese turn their backs on Olympic athletes as Covid’s anxiety worsens

Cities across Japan are canceling plans to host athletes ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, which have little chance of airing competitors and threatening to distort competition at the world’s biggest sporting event.

They are camps on local farms a crucial part of the preparation for many Olympic athletes, it allows them to train, condition and connect as a team before going directly to the Olympic Village or the competition venue.

But the severity of Covid-19’s restrictions – which will apply even if athletes are included – is prompting many countries to cancel, highlighting how Japan’s decision stands out. organize the Olympics in a pandemic the logistics of the event are being tightened.

-The ends of heat and humidity In the summer in Tokyo, athletes will struggle if they don’t adapt to local conditions quickly enough, especially if Covid-19 has prevented them from leaving their country to train in the right climate.

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said at a press conference in Tokyo that athletes admitted they would have little time to warm up.

“On the track and on the pitch, we know that the athletes will not be in town for more than a few days before. The chances of being in summer camps are limited, ”he said.

Coe stressed that the lack of time to get used to the hot and humid conditions will not affect the competition. “They’re all on the same boat,” he said. “[The athletes]. . . I’d rather sit here than dance. “

The U.S. athletics team has left a pre-Olympic training camp in Chiba province due to security concerns outside Tokyo, local officials said.

Tokyo is in a state of emergency in its struggle to get Japan vaccination campaign off the ground. So far, the country has given the first dose of vaccine to 3% of the population, and recent polls say 60 percent of people want to stop gambling.

Olympic athletes and logistics staff have been able to enter the country since April 23rd. Game credentials are doubled visas, avoiding Japan’s Covid-19 restrictions, which has prevented most foreigners from entering the country for more than a year.

However, athletes and officials who travel to the games a long list of measures, approving all travel plans, including ongoing testing of Covid-19 and avoiding contact with the Japanese public. Non-compliance can also lead to penalties and expulsion from games.

In many Japanese towns, interaction with athletes was the responsibility of organizing camps. The link between local communities and teams was one of them at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan high points of that tournament.

Frenchman Guilhem Guirado poses with Japanese fan after training in Fujiyoshida ahead of 2019 Rugby World Cup

Frenchman Guilhem Guirado poses with a Japanese fan after training in Fujiyoshida before the 2019 Rugby World Cup © Franck Fife / AFP via Getty Images

City officials fear that the pre-Olympic testing regimes will drain the medical resources needed to spread vaccines to the local population. The city of Izunokuni, southwest of Tokyo, was to host an Olympic camp for the Mongolian judo team but said those plans have been canceled.

“They wanted to do it in June and that will be difficult in practice,” said Masaru Kojima of the town’s sports department. “It would require daily PCR [polymerase chain reaction] tests and complete separation from the general public. ”According to him, the town hoped to organize summer camps before the Paralympics in August.

Okuizumo, a remote city in western Japan, is a bastion of field hockey and made major investments in facilities to host an Indian team for a pre-Olympic camp. Now he has abandoned those plans.

“We should ensure the movement of the athletes, their accommodation and their contact with the local people. It would be very difficult for us to meet these conditions,” said Katsumi Naase, a village official.

“We expected there to be exchanges between local school children and Indian players and that would not be possible.”

The city of Kurihara in Miyagi prefecture was planning to host a South African men’s hockey team. Rather than staff its athletes and perform Covid-19 tests, the council has decided that it needs these officials to carry out its vaccination campaign. Canceled host city plan.

However, the management of Nerima in Tokyo said it intended to organize a Danish shooting team and a track and field in Ecuador, suggesting that some teams will set a training period earlier than others. The Tokyo metropolis has commercial suppliers for the Covid-19 test, reducing the stress on its facilities, Motoko Usui said in his office.

“The difference for us is that we are part of the host city,” he said. “It’s hard for us to think about canceling.”

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