The organisers of Tokyo Olympics appear to be very stringent about the procedures to be followed during the course of the game. They have issued a novel playbook for the athletes prohibiting them from socialising, shaking hands and absolutely no hugging. The 33-page document — the last in a series of “playbooks” drawn up in a bid to ensure the Games can go ahead safely — also warns athletes they could be kicked out of their events if they break strict anti-virus rules. Under the guidelines, athletes will be tested for the virus at least once every four days, and will be barred from competing if they return a confirmed positive test.
Their time in Japan will be minimised to reduce the risk of infection and those staying at the Olympic Village will be expected to avoid unnecessary forms of physical contact. The organisers also mentioned that they still plan to hand out around 150,000 free condoms to athletes but the new rulebook urges them to limit contact with other people as much as possible. They have added that if they have been to the Games before, this experience will be different in a number of ways but it is required to be followed. For all Games participants, there will be some conditions and constraints that will require their flexibility and understanding.
The guide for athletes and team officials is set to be revised in April and again in June and follows the release of handbooks for sports officials, media and broadcasters last week. The document lays out further detail on virus testing for athletes, with a negative test required within 72 hours of travelling to Japan and again immediately upon arrival. There will be no quarantine for athletes and they will still be allowed to attend training camps in Japan before the Games begin but all movements must be rigorously logged and the use of public transport is subject to permission.
The playbook directs that the athletes must not visit gyms, tourist areas, shops, restaurants or bars and can only go to official Games venues and limited additional locations. They are also advised to wear masks at all times except when they are competing, training, eating, sleeping or outside in open space.
The virus rulebooks are being released as organisers, Olympic officials and Japan’s government works to build confidence that the Games can go ahead safely despite a surge in infections globally. While vaccinations are recommended for athletes, they will not be a requirement to participate in the Games. Support for hosting the virus-postponed event remains low in Japan, with around 80 per cent of Japanese backing cancellation or further postponement — something organisers have ruled out.
The rollout of the virus rules has been overshadowed by a row over sexist comments made by Tokyo 2020 chief Yoshiro Mori, who faces calls to resign after claiming women speak too much in meetings. So far, he has apologised but declined to step down. The Games are due to open in Tokyo on 23 July. TW