The Olympic body of India has slammed as “unfair” strict rules imposed by the Japanese government on athletes from various Covid-hit countries for the Tokyo Games scheduled to start next month.
Tokyo 2020 organizers on June 21 said that additional safety measures would be taken to minimize infection risks from several nations like India that have seen “significant impact from several variants” of COVID-19.
The protocols will add daily testing of athletes for a week before they leave for Japan and to “stop them from coming into contact with other teams for three days after they reach” Japan.
However, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) stated the rules would cause athletes to lose three important training days.
In a joint statement released on Saturday, IOA president Narinder Batra and secretary Rajeev Mehta said, “Athletes are allowed to reach the Games village only five days before their event.”
“Now three days will be waste; this is the time the athletes need to be moving to their mode to peak…highly unfair for Indian athletes, who have worked hard for five years, to be discriminated against just five days before the Olympics,” they added.
The sports administration said 11 nations, including India, Pakistan and the UK, would be affected.
“Where and when will the athletes have their breakfast, lunch, dinner, during these three days as everyone has food in the Games village food hall where all athletes and officials of other NOCs (National Olympic Committees) are present throughout the time,” the statement mentioned.
Raising concern training, it asked, “Where can athletes train?” because “practice/training areas are never empty and other NOCs officials are present all the time.”
The organizers have not clarified if athletes from the affected countries would be allowed to train in the three days after once they arrive.
Indian athletes will be fully inoculated before the Games starting from July 23.
India has eased some lockdown restrictions in recent days as it emerges from a brutal hike in infections and deaths in April and May.
In late May, the International Olympic Committee said that India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Maldives and Sri Lanka had pledged to fully vaccinate their delegations and conduct additional testing.