New Delhi: The Japanese government has imposed stricter regulations on Indian athletes and officials who will be travelling to Tokyo for next month’s Olympic Games, leaving the Indian Olympic Association fuming.
Among the stringent guidelines, Indians have been asked to undergo daily COVID-19 tests for a week prior to their departure and not interact with anyone from another country for three days after arrival in Japan.
Not just the members of Indian contingent, the stricter regulations have been put in place for all athletes, coaches and support staff who have travelled to 11 specified countries, including India, where different variants of coronavirus have been detected, 14 days ahead of their arrival in Tokyo.
IOA president Narinder Batra and secretary general Rajeev Mehta issued a joint statement, questioning the “unfair and discriminatory” regulations.
“Athletes are allowed to arrive in the Games Village only 5 days before their event. Now 3 days will be wasted, this is the time the Athletes need to be moving towards their mode to Peak. Highly unfair for Indian Athletes,” the statement read.
“Where and when will the Athletes have their Breakfast, Lunch Dinner etc during these 3 days, as everyone has food in the Games village food hall where all Athletes and officals of other NOCs are present all the time.
“If Food Packets are being delivered outside the Rooms of the Athletes then who will plan their body requirements like Proteins, food preferences etc and will it not affect the performance of athletes, who will not not get their preferred diet, just 5 days before the Olympics,” IOA pointed out.
Japan has clubbed India in group 1 countries, along with Afghanistan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Some of the athletes like weightlifter Mirabai Chanu, wrestler Vinesh Phogat and javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra are currently training abroad and will travel to Tokyo from their respective locations. But the majority of participants will fly to Tokyo from India.
The IOA also questioned the need for these additional regulations given that Indian athletes will be fully vaccinated and will be undergoing COVID daily tests for a week before departure.