Tokyo Olympics going ahead despite the Covid-19 pandemic

That’s the unanimous message from the Tokyo 2020 organising committee, the Japanese Government, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

Originally scheduled for 2020, the Games were postponed for a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with the revised dates for the Olympic Games being 23 July to 8 August 2021 and the Paralympic Games from 24 August to 5 September 2021.

SASCOC, as a member of the IOC and IPC, is guided by these respective organisations.

The preparations for Team SA to both the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic Games is therefore going ahead as per the directives received and the key compliance requirements set out by the IOC and IPC. The IOC and IPC together with the International Federations agreed that all qualified athletes/teams and/or slots already allocated will be honoured and those who are still to qualify will continue to do so.

The SASCOC project team is continuing its Team preparation work to ensure that all logistics are in place for a smooth and successful team delivery to these Games. They are in constant communication with the Tokyo Organising Committee, the IOC and IPC and are receiving regular updates on progress for preparations to these Games.

Team South Africa’s Chief Medical Officers both for the Olympic and Paralympic Games attended a CMO webinar for medical staff of National Olympic Committees, Paralympic Committees and International Federations, hosted by the Tokyo local organising committee (LOC) on 14 January 2021.

The purpose of the webinar was to provide an update on the Covid-19 counter-measures planned for Tokyo 2020.

The LOC confirmed their commitment to hosting a safe and successful Games, and it was evident from the details provided that there has been significant consultation and progress made in delivering on this promise.

Key elements discussed in the meeting related to:

· Countermeasures, travelling and testing at the Games. Specifically, all the current plans assume that the global response to the pandemic would have reduced, but not eliminated. Appropriate countermeasures will therefore need to be implemented to address the risk to Covid-19.

· The testing strategy will include testing of all athletes and officials prior to arriving in Japan, constant monitoring of all athletes and officials during the Games, and screening of the wider Olympic family to reduce risk.

· Physical distancing, social measures and infection counter-measures in residential and competition venues. Team South Africa’s medical team have taken note of all the information discussed in the meeting and will incorporate this in an Athlete Health Strategy due to be presented to the SASCOC Board.

“SASCOC would like to assure our athletes that there is full focus on preparing for the successful delivery of Team SA to both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. We are continuously engaging with National Federations, to ascertain any challenges athletes are facing so that assistance can be provided wherever possible.

The countdown to the Games continues and Saturday 23 January 2021 marks exactly six months to go before the Olympic Games in Tokyo.”

In the next few months, athletes are gearing up their final training preparations as some of the various disciplines attempt to make the qualifying standards.

Qualifications for the Olympics closes on 4 July 2021 and for the Paralympics on the 2 August 2021.

A possible total of 24 sports will be contested by Team SA during the Tokyo Olympic Games and a possible total of 10 sports will be contested by Team SA during the Tokyo Paralympic Games.

“SASCOC wishes all our athletes well as they work towards their final qualifying preparations. We will ensure that athletes and National Federations are kept informed on the progress during the preparation phase to these Games.”

Follow TeamSA on social media and Twitter handle remains @TeamSA2020 in alignment with the Tokyo 2020 branding.

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