The Tokyo Olympics may be starting as re-scheduled in less than a month’s time but confusion over coronavirus protocols is still shrouding the event in confusion.
Here the PA news agency takes a look at the latest developments and the potential impact on British athletes as they prepare to begin to fly out to Japan earlier next month.
What is the latest situation regarding quarantine?
Tokyo 2020 spokesperson Masa Takaya sparked alarm on Tuesday when he revealed that athletes are not currently exempt from a Japanese government requirement to quarantine six days if they are arriving from a red-list country such as the UK. Under the existing rules, athletes would be denied the ability to leave their hotel rooms to train and exercise, throwing their final preparations into chaos.
Are things going to change?
The Japanese government are scheduled to revisit the existing regulations on July 1. The IOC are lobbying hard for athletes, as well as other accredited members of the affected national delegations, to be exempted from hard-quarantine rules, and potentially submit instead to more stringent testing procedures during their respective stays in the Japanese capital.
What is life going to be like for athletes in Tokyo?
The IOC made plain this week that athletes from all nations must abide by a series of stringent regulations or face the prospect of disqualification or even deportation. They must not leave their essential venues or interact physically with any members of the Japanese public. They must submit to daily testing and submit to social-distancing measures at all times, even including eating alone where possible.
What are the British Olympic Association doing to solve the problem?
The BOA has been working tirelessly to minimise disruption for the athletes, and maintained optimism that the current rules will not apply next month. IOC chiefs are also bullish that the potential restrictions can be worked around, but the Japanese government – possibly under pressure from a public who are reticent at best at the prospect of staging the Games – will make the decision with little scope for sentiment.
And what are the athletes saying?
Having already been faced with a one-year postponement and swathes of their respective seasons locked out of training facilities, athletes can be forgiven for shrugging off the latest scare. Adam Peaty expressed broader concerns on Wednesday when he stressed that the IOC should work to ensure that no athlete has been nor will be incapacitated in a way which could benefit their rivals.