Word From Japan

Departure from PTC was a bit low key. FASANOC staff led by Lyndall were there to wave us on our way.

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July 16, 2021

Departure from PTC was a bit low key. FASANOC staff led by Lyndall were there to wave us on our way.

Sadly Jane was unable to join the team.  The journey was quiet.  Most had the grand opportunity of catching up on lost sleep on account of the la-a-ate nights of admin work to sort, arrange/receive delivery, to clarify confirm and to settle.

A comfort stop was in order and the leg-stretch occurred at the new Grace Road roadside stop at Yadua, Sigatoka.

Arrival at Nadi airport required all to disembark and to lay out personal hand luggage from the bus, unload and lay out the luggage from bus compartments as well as the from the luggage bus.

All items were sanitized before they could then be taken up and passengers allowed to Check-in.   At Check-in the vigilant health officers noted the discrepancy with our 72hrs PCR Test results.  Immediately ALL 18 pieces were recalled and the dutiful officers saw to the changes.  What a saving grace and thanks in no small part to the officers.

Our pre-Ordered meals arrived and this we partook of in the lounge after Check-in.  Following this we then were requested to make our entrance through Immigration and Customs and onward to the departure lounge. At 10.30 p.m. the PM gave a special Farewell address to the team, just prior to our boarding.

Once we were airborne a meal was served and then it was time to get some much needed sleep.  Arrival time in Tokyo was approximately 6.25 a.m. Friday 9th July.

After disembarkation the procedure for checking all aspects of COVID testing, to Immigration, checking apps downloaded, awaiting Test results we were then finally permitted to proceed to collect personal luggage, plus all the Team Fiji luggage and to then proceed to Customs and clearance to exit.

Patrick and I travelled in a taxi for the OLV while the rest of the Team were escorted away to a holding area prior to their departure aboard coaches bound for Haneda Airport, some two and one half hours travelling time.

Oita city was their destination.  The host city afforded Team Fiji a Pre Games Training Camp which allowed for the 14 day post arrival quarantine period.

At the Games Village Patrick and I were joined by a Jane in Fiji, linking via Teams Meeting for the completion of the all-important Delegation Registration Meeting (DRM).  This entailed scrutinizing with National Olympic Committee Services, our final list of Delegation (i.e. Team Officials, FASANOC President and Secretary General, Dignitaries and entourage), and the complete list of Athletes who will represent Fiji on the sporting stage.

With the DRM completed and signed off it then permitted TF to receive its allocation of Rooms/Beds and other privileges as mandated through the IOC Charter.  With Pre Validated Cards (PVC) now validated following the successful DRM we were shuttled through security and into the awe of the Games Village proper.  Team Fiji along with all the “coconuts” of Oceania are housed in Building 14, which is one of several 18-storey high-rises in this fabulous water-front setting.

The Main Dining Hall was an experience as usual, with its expanse to cater for the widely varied appetites and for the COVID countermeasures for social distancing.  It is one-and-a-half times the size of the FMF GYMNASIUM Car park, all under one roof, with ground and first levels.

Foot-pedalled hand sanitizers line the walls and the spaciousness well measured. I can’t wait to see what it will be like when the athletes and officials arrive to customize the place.

Outside the streets are well lit and we enjoyed the stroll back to our rooms where we prepared for the much anticipated rest after the hours of travel since leaving the PTC on Thursday afternoon.

Saturday 10th July.

  • 7.30 a.m.- A brisk walk to the Chef’s Meeting
  • 9.00 a.m.-shuttle ride to the Dining Hall to enjoy some breakfast fare
  • 10.00 a.m. – meeting with Kent from Am. Samoa who had keys for the allocation of rooms for TF.
  • Meli Cavu (ONOC Head) arrived to guide us through the task of checking the Inventory of every room
  • 5.30 p.m.-we dropped everything to grab a late dinner before Meli returned to his “hotel” accommodation.”

Sunday 11th July

  • Daily Health check on OCHA
    - this is the daily requirement to be captured on the smartphone of EVERY athlete and official
    - part of the requirement is the Saliva Test that is put into a test tube, stickered with a barcode that is noted on the phone and then the sample dropped off at a central collection depot.
    - this is to be done throughout the duration of one’s stay in Japan; according the OCHA app we’re here for 33 days, until departure to Fiji on 10th August!!!!!
  • The second app is COCOA which also operates on Bluetooth and records one’s close proximity to a reported COVID case.
  • These apps were such a bind and befuddling but now that we’re safely through the maze of airport arrival procedures all is falling into place
  • With the endless nodding and bowing I am reminded of Enid Blyton’s story books about “Noddy and Big Ears.”
    - it is a respectful gesture, accorded to all on the sidewalks, on the shuttle, in the dining hall, in fact anywhere

Monday 12th July

  • 7.30 a.m. Chef’s Meeting
  • 9.20 a.m. Breakfast
  • 10.20 a.m. Daily Health Check and deposit of Test Samples
  • Continuing Room allocation for Oceania countries
  • Zoom Meeting with Sitiveni in Guam to finalize TF rooming allocation-of the Pacific Island countries, Fiji has the largest contingent, outside of Australia and NZ, so getting the rooming right is crucial for TF accommodating each person to a bed and room.

Tuesday 13th July

  • Today is the Official Opening Day for the Olympic Village (OLV)
  • It is the day when anyone accessing the OLV must have a valid accreditation
  • 12.00.noon Chef de Mission Fiji, (Patrick Bower), meets with Kelera Savu, First Secretary of the Fiji Embassy in Japan, to formalize accreditations for the Ambassador and herself, as chief guests for TF
  • Vineet Chandra will also be met and will have his accreditation validated
    - Vineet will be the Attache for TF and his accreditation gives him daily access in and out of the OLV to assist administratively
    - He will not have a bed but TF will provide dining during the course of the day in his voluntary capacity.
  • The afternoon will be spent moving TF merchandise cartons up from basement storage and into the rooms in readiness for distribution.

Wayne O’Connor

Team Fiji GM/COVID Liaison Officer

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