The 11th and final meeting (19-21 May) of the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s Coordination Commission for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 concluded on 21 May, and it has become clearer than ever that these Games will be safe for everyone participating and the Japanese people.
The opening session of the meetings was attended by IOC President Thomas Bach, who took the opportunity to focus efforts on this crucial period for the Games. He said: “With just 65 days to go until the Opening Ceremony, we are now very delivery-focused. The athletes from all around the world are grateful to Japan for its diligent preparations, and are looking forward to safe and secure Olympic and Paralympic Games where they can finally shine.”
With Tokyo 2020 now fully in the operational delivery phase, the IOC President confirmed that as many as 75 per cent of the residents of the Olympic Village are already vaccinated or have secured vaccination; and that there is good reason to believe that this figure will be well over 80 per cent at the time of the Games.
Speaking after the conclusion of these meetings, John Coates, the Chair of the IOC’s Coordination Commission for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, said: “After nearly eight years of hard work and planning, the finish line is within touching distance. It is testament to the hard work of the Tokyo 2020 organisers, including the Japanese Government, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Japanese people, that we are able to look towards the Opening Ceremony on 23 July with such confidence.” He continued: “We will continue to work hand in hand with our Japanese partners to do everything possible to deliver safe and secure Games for everyone. I know from my own athletes in Australia, how appreciative they are of the efforts of the Japanese people to give them the opportunity to live their dream despite the current situation.”
Following Coates’ remarks, Tokyo 2020 President Seiko HASHIMOTO said: “It has now been three months since my appointment as President, and just two months remain until the opening of the Games. Preparations for safe and secure Games are proceeding steadily, but I am aware that we must work all the harder to ensure that the people of Tokyo and Japan also feel that sense of safety and security.
“In response to any concerns, we are moving forward to tighten our planning in three fields. First, tight limitations on the number of participants entering Japan. Second, tight enforcement of the code of conduct and of health monitoring. And third, a tight review and reconsideration of the Games-time medical system.
Team Fiji’s Chef de Mission, Mr Patrick Bower said, “we are closely following news from the IOC and taking all possible steps to ensure our participation at Tokyo 2020 is a safe and rewarding one. There are still a lot of challenges and hurdles yet to be cleared but the team is working in steadfast to get Team Fiji across the line.”
As of right now, all Team Fiji athletes including those in the extended squads have received their first jab of the COVID Vaccine and arrangements are being made to have the second jab before they depart on 08 July 2021.
The Coordination Commission was further encouraged by the many sporting events taking place successfully around the globe, noting that more than 54,000 athletes have competed in over 430 major sports events since September 2020, all held safely for participants and the local population.
Many of these contributed to Olympic qualification. At this stage, 72 per cent of athletes, or just over 8,000 athletes, have already qualified for this summer’s Games. This includes 11 sports/disciplines for which qualification has been completed. The remaining will come from world rankings (20 per cent) and the final qualifying events (8 per cent).
The experience gained by the IFs and NOCs from these events, held during the COVID-19 pandemic, also contributed to the latest edition of key stakeholder Playbooks. It supplements the latest scientific expertise used to develop these guidelines.
The recent publication of the second edition of the Playbooks was highlighted by the Coordination Commission as another important step towards Games-time operations, further reinforced by confidence shown by the World Health Organization in the risk-mitigation measures being planned for Games time. The final editions of the Playbooks are due to be published in June.
With the final Coordination Commission meeting now over, the full focus of all the organisers turns again to delivery and the prospect of hosting unforgettable Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer.
Chef de Mission, Patrick Bower, confirmed that the qualification status for Team Fiji remained as Rugby 7s Men and Women and Sailing’s Sophia Morgan who qualified on merit and was offered a Tokyo 2020 place by World Sailing. Despite on-going COVID-19 challenges, high hopes continue to be held for Archery, Athletics, Judo, Karate, Swimming and Table Tennis.