KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING — Vaccination against Covid-19 will not be mandatory fo competitors and officials attending the rescheduled Olympic Games in Tokyo next July.
However International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach made it clear after an executive board meeting that he would expect any potential refuseniks to consider the health and safety of their fellow competitions.
The haste of the worldwide scientific community to develop anti-Covid vaccines means that access is expected to be possible for all Olympic participants by next summer. The risk of infection among the competitors accessing the Olympic Village is a particular concern.
Bach said: “Competitors will not be under an obligation to be vaccinated but my clear appeal to those athletes is to take their fellow athletes and the Olympic Games into consideration.
“It’s not only about themselves but about solidarity with their fellow athletes and to contribute to the safe conditions which we will offer during these postponed Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.”
One particular measure agreed by the IOC and the Tokyo organises is to instruct all sports to ensure their competitors stay at the Games only as long as is demanded by their competitive schedules.
Bach said: “We think this is absolutely necessary because we need to minimise the number of residents in the Olympic Village to minimise the risk of Covid exposure.
“At the same time we want to balance the athletes’ experience with the conditions for athlete performance and also attendance in particular at the opening ceremonies.
“The NOCs should adapt their arrival and departure policies to ensure the athletes can arrive at the Olympic Village five days prior to the start of their competition and then depart a maximum of two days after their competition.”
The guidelines also applies to sport-specific officials.