New guidelines will curtail movements of Olympic competitors – SL Chef-de-Mission

Gamini Jayasinghe
Gamini Jayasinghe

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games organisers further strengthened their safety controls by adding a new regulation of a three-day bio-bubble from the date athletes arrive in Japan.

Chef-de-Mission of the Sri Lanka contingent Gamini Jayasinghe said the new guidelines will curtail the movements of the arriving competitors to the Athletes Village in the first three days.

Even their training schedules could be slightly affected, unless they have already booked. Jayasinghe said unlike in the previous Games, there will be no separate flag hoisting ceremonies.

COVID Liaison Officer of the Sri Lanka Team, Dr. Himan Shashidara de Silva said he is down to have a special meeting with the health officials of the Games to iron out problems that may arise from the new regulations.

This follows after two athletes were tested positive for COVID-19 – the first competitors to test positive for Coronavirus at the Tokyo Olympic Athletes’ Village.

With only four days before the spectacular opening ceremony of the 206-nation Games on Friday, the organisers introduced a mandatory three-day bio-bubble which further restricts the normal movement of competitors, coaches and officials – closely monitored through an App via their mobile phones.

So far, three persons from direct Olympic families have been tested positive for COVID-19 – an official on Saturday and two competitors on Sunday.

Organisers said the Sunday duo are from the same team and sport as the official who tested positive on Saturday. Other members of the team are being isolated in their rooms.

10 new cases connected to the Olympics including media, contractors and other personnel were reported on Sunday, compared to 15 new cases on Saturday.

A total of over 1,000 new cases each were reported during the last four consecutive days as infection rates rise among the general population of Tokyo.

Polls show many Japanese people oppose holding the Games with the influx of overseas visitors it entails.

An official of the Tokyo 2020 said the three positive cases from the Athletes’ Village are from the same country and sport. They are being isolated in their rooms while meals are being delivered. He said that the rest of the team – which has not been identified – has also been tested.

He added that the athletes who are coming to Japan are probably very worried and that is understandable. He added that the organizers are doing everything to prevent any COVID-19 outbreaks.

The entire athletic team from Australia for the Games were quarantined in their rooms at their pre-Games training camp in Cairns, following a COVID-19 scare.

An inconclusive test had been returned by an official but subsequent tests were reported negative.

Sri Lanka Chef-de-Mission Jayasinghe was the first to arrive in Japan five days ago. Shuttler Niluka Karunaratne, rifle shooter Tehani Egodawela, badminton coach cum trainer Dinuka Karunaratne, press attaché Wing Commander (Rtd) Chandana Liyanage and Manager cum Coach of shooting Pradeep Chinthaka Edirisinghe have now arrived at the Sri Lanka allocations of the Athletes’ Village.

Chamara Nuwan Dharmawardena, the Men’s Overall Captain and judoka, is due to arrive from Kosovo today.

His manager Amal Ratnayake will fly from Colombo tomorrow, along with shooting Coach Rangana Tharanga and Manager Kapila Jeevantha.

Meanwhile, Women’s Overall Captain Milka Gehani de Siva, who has been training in Japan, will check in Tokyo Athletes’ Village today.

Also due to arrive tomorrow is swimmer Matthew Abeysinghe from Columbus, US. His father Manoj Abeysinghe, who functions as swimming Manager is due to leave Colombo today. Women’s swimmer Aniqah Gaffoor, who has been training in Thailand, is due to reach Tokyo today.

Sprinter Yupun Abeykoon, middle distance runner Nimali Liyanarachchi and Mathilda Karlsson, who competes in equestrian Women’s jumping individual event, will arrive later this week.

(Daily news)

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