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India unhappy with rules in Tokyo Olympics for athletes from COVID-hit nations

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The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) is unhappy with the strict rules imposed by the Japanese government on athletes coming from severe COVID-19 affected countries for the Tokyo Games beginning in July.

Additional measures for COVID-affected nations

The organisers have announced additional measures to combat chances of infection from several countries including India, where the second wave of the pandemic wreaked havoc. The additional measures include daily testing of athletes for a week before they fly for Japan and restraining them from coming into contact with other teams for three days after arrival in Japan.

Unfair, says IOA

The IOA has slammed the measures as unfair that would result in the losing three crucial training days.”Athletes are allowed to arrive in the Games village only five days before their event,” IOA president Narinder Batra and secretary Rajeev Mehta said in a joint statement.

“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, who have worked hard for five years, to be discriminated against just five days before the Olympics.”

IOA raises pertinent questions

Eleven countries, including India, Pakistan and the UK, would be affected by the strict rules. “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 all the time,” the statement added.

“Where can athletes train?” it asked because “practice/training areas are never empty and athletes and officials of other NOCs are present all the time.”

The International Olympic Committee said in late May that six countries — Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka — had pledged to fully vaccinated their delegations and conduct additional testing.

COVID-19 situation in India

The COVID-19 situation in India has significantly improved in the past month, with cases and deaths gradually declining. However, experts have warned about an “inevitable” third wave in the country.

Nearly, three crore people have tested positive for COVID-19 in India since the pandemic began last year and 3.88 lakh have succumbed to the viral infection.

 

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