IOA questioned the need for these restrictions considering that Indian athletes will be fully vaccinated and will be undergoing daily tests for a week before their departure
Stringent Covid-19 protocols for Indian athletes and officials going to participate in the Tokyo Olympics has received stern criticism from the Indian Olympics Association. Japanese government has asked members of the Indian contingent to undergo daily Covid-19 tests for a week prior to their departure and not interact with anyone from another country for three days on arrival.
Stricter restrictions have been imposed on all athletes, coach and support staff from 11 countries, including India, where more infectious variants of the virus have been identified. These restrictions will have to be followed for 14 days to the contingents' arrival in Tokyo.
India has been clubbed with Afghanistan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in group 1.
"Before you travel: You must be tested every day, for seven days, prior to your departure to Japan," stated the Japanese government advisory for the Group 1 countries.
"Physical distancing: For seven days prior to your departure to Japan, you must keep your physical interaction with all others, including from another team, delegation or country, to an absolute minimum," it added.
Athletes and officials have been barred from interacting with anyone else apart from their on delegation for three days on arrival. During the games, they will be will be tested every day. Athletes have been asked to check into the Games Village five days before their competition begins.
IOA has strongly registered their dissatisfaction over the "unfair and discriminatory" rules. IOA president Narinder Batra and secretary general Rajeev Mehta, in a joint statement, raised questions on the new regulations.
"Athletes are allowed to arrive in the Games Village only five days before their event. Now three days will be wasted, this is the time the Athletes need to be moving towards their mode to peak. Highly unfair for Indian athletes," the joint statement read.
"Where and when will the Athletes have their breakfast, lunch, dinner, etc. during these 3 days, as everyone has food in the Games village food hall where all athletes and officials of other NOCs are present all the time. If food packets are being delivered outside the rooms of the athletes, then who will plan their body requirements like proteins, food preferences, etc. and will it not affect the performance of athletes, who will not not get their preferred diet, just five days before the Olympics," it further added.
IOA further questioned the need for these restrictions considering that Indian athletes will be fully vaccinated and will be undergoing daily tests for a week before their departure.
"Where and when will the athletes practice as practice/training areas are never empty and athletes and officials of other NOCs are present all the time... then why make the Athletes suffer at a time when they need to peak, once again highly unfair for Indian athletes who have worked hard for 5 years to be discriminated against just 5 days before the Olympics," the IOA statement read.
Indian athletes, including weightlifter Mirabai Chanu, wrestler Vinesh Phogat and javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, are training abroad and will travel to Tokyo from their respective locations. However, a most members of the Indian contingent will leave for the Games from India and the regulations will affect their training.
(With PTI inputs)
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