India protest ‘unfair’ Tokyo Olympic rules for coronavirus-hit nations
Published: Jun 21, 2021 04:43 PM
India's Olympic body has slammed as "unfair" strict rules imposed by the Japanese government on athletes from several coronavirus-hit nations for the Tokyo Games starting next month.

Tokyo 2020 organizers said Monday that additional ­measures will be used to reduce infection risks from several countries, including India, that have seen "significant impact from variants" of COVID-19.

The protocols will involve daily testing of athletes for a week before they depart for Japan and for them to "refrain from coming into contact with other teams for three days after they arrive" in Japan.

But the Indian Olympic ­Association (IOA) said the rules would cause athletes to lose three crucial training days.

"Athletes are allowed to ­arrive in the Games village only five days before their event," IOA President ­Narinder Batra and secretary Rajeev Mehta said in a joint statement released on Saturday.

"Now three days will be wasted, this is the time the athletes need to be moving toward their mode to peak... highly unfair for Indian athletes, who have worked hard for five years, to be discriminated against just five days before the Olympics."

The sports administrators said 11 countries, including India, Pakistan and the UK, would be affected.

"Where and when will the athletes have their breakfast, lunch, dinner during these three days, as everyone has food in the Games village food hall where all athletes and officials of other NOCs [National  Olympic Committees] are ­present all the time," the statement added.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics organizers said in a statement to AFP that they had received a document from India's Olympic body.

Batra told AFP last week that Indian athletes will be fully vaccinated before the Games starting July 23. 

The Asian country has eased some lockdown restrictions in recent weeks as it emerges from a brutal surge in infections and deaths in April and May.

Up to 10,000 spectators will be allowed at Tokyo Olympic events, organizers said Monday, but competition could move behind closed doors if infections surge.

A decision on how many fans will be allowed at the ­Paralympic Games will be delayed until July 16, a week before they open, organizers added in a statement.

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