KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS:

he most massive leak concerns the volunteers. The organizing committee of the Games recognized it in the media: around 10,000 volunteers, at the last score, have withdrawn in recent months. The exodus began in February, after the controversy arising from the sexist remarks of the former president of the organizing committee, Yoshiro Mori. It has since continued at a steady pace.

According to Toshiro Muto, the director general of the organizing committee, the starters evoke the health crisis and the risks of infections linked to the arrival of tens of thousands of visitors from all over the world, but also the constraints of schedule, professional or personal.

The figure is not trivial. Ten thousand defections in a few months is nothing anecdotal for an Olympic event. But Toshiro Muto explained it calmly: the effects of this wave of renouncements could prove to be very inconspicuous. The organizing committee had seen the big picture, recruiting 80,000 volunteers. Some of them will be able to officiate at both the Olympic and Paralympic Games, suggests the general manager of the Games. Above all, the absence of foreign spectators considerably reduces the need for volunteers.

More embarrassing: Japanese television channel NHK reveals that it has learned of the waiver of many doctors supposed to work during the Games at competition venues. They would have cited, to justify their decision, the impossibility of reconciling their presence on the sites and their professional obligations.

Recruiting medical staff has proven to be a serious headache for Games organizers since the onset of the health crisis. The case even turned into controversy when Toshiro Muto announced his willingness to mobilize 500 nurses during the event.

Since then, the organizers have announced that they have secured around 80% of the needs for medical personnel. But that percentage could decline if defections continue among volunteer doctors.

The wave of renouncements does not only affect the organization of the Games in the capital. It also affects the preparation of teams. At last count, more than a hundred municipalities across Japan had to cancel training camps for foreign delegations before the start of the Games. In the majority of cases, the cancellation was decided by the teams. But the decision was sometimes taken by local authorities.

The Kenyan Olympic Committee announced on Wednesday (June 2) that the city of Kurume, in Fukuoka prefecture, had informed it earlier this week of its inability to receive its athletes before their arrival at the Olympic Village. Reason given: a health situation ”  extremely serious, which has become critical since mid-April . 

The municipal authorities explained to the Kenyan Olympic committee that the sports facilities which were to be made available to the athletes have been transformed into vaccination centers. The Kenya team was to prepare for 12 days in Kurume, starting July 7.

Elsewhere, the renunciation was decided by the foreign delegations. The US track and field team has canceled their training camp in Narita. The Canadian Swimming Federation has announced to the municipality of Toyota, the automaker’s world headquarters, that its swimmers will no longer be coming in July.

In Kamo, a city of 25,000 inhabitants located in northwestern Japan, the authorities had spent more than $ 600,000 on equipment and renovation of a gymnasium, to accommodate the Russian gymnastics team in full force, i.e. 42 athletes. and members of management. But their training camp was canceled for health reasons.

The French table tennis team, on the other hand, maintained their stay in Kofu, in Yamanashi prefecture. Table tennis players are due to arrive in Japan on July 12. They will prepare in Kofu before their departure on July 20 for the Athletes’ Village. But the program of cultural and protocol exchanges initially planned, including a reception at the town hall and a visit to the vineyard, has been canceled.