By Paul Jones
Welsh athletes heading to next year’s re-scheduled Olympic Games have been told to prepare for flying visits to Tokyo.
The likes of Jade Jones, Dewi Griffiths, Melissa Courtney, Owain Doull, Natalie Powell and others can now expect brief in-and-out visits to Japan, either side of their competition date.
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.
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.
IOC President Thomas Bach, speaking after the organisation’s executive board meeting, revealed the decision was taken to minimise the number of people living in the Athletes’ Village.
The @Tokyo2020 Organising Committee presented a number of updates to the International Olympic Committee Executive Board, focused on developments relating to the impact of COVID-19. #IOCEB https://t.co/3dyJ8z1yEj
— IOC MEDIA (@iocmedia) December 7, 2020
“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.
“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.
Exemptions of one or two days could apply depending on training obligations and partners, time zones, flight availability and the Games Ceremonies.
The number of officials attending the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympic and Paralympic Games will be limited to six as part of coronavirus countermeasures which are set to be in place at the Games.
Athletes are also likely to be told to remain in the Village and will be encouraged not to go out sightseeing.