With the Olympic Games set to kick off at the end of July, preparations for the Games are beginning in all sports, not just in swimming. In this series, SwimSwam looks at some of the leading news from outside of swimming as athletes around the world continue to prepare and qualify for the rescheduled Games which are due to begin in Tokyo on July 23rd.
US Track and Field Cancels Training Camp in Japan
In response to a recent spike in Covid-10 cases in Japan, USA Track and Field (USATF) has announced that it is canceling it’s scheduled training camp in Japan prior to the Games. The organization is now encouraging athletes to find training opportunities at home instead of at the previously scheduled camp.
The training camp for track and field athletes was originally scheduled to take place leading up to the Games in Chiba, the Japanese prefecture neighboring Tokyo. Officials in the Chiba region said that, while the cancellation is regrettable, given the situation, it is the best choice to ensure the health of athletes ahead of Olympic competition.
USATF is not the only group of athletes to cancel training camp plans or have their host areas cancel their plans ahead of the Games. Of the over 500 towns originally slated to host training camps and cultural exchanges in the lead up to the opening ceremony, 40 have already canceled plans. The Niigata prefecture has cancelled it’s initial plans to host the Australian swim team leading up to the games. A BMX freestyle cycling test event that was scheduled prior to the Games has also been canceled for foreign athletes.
Brazil set to Vaccinate All Athletes, Coaches, Referees, and Media Ahead of Olympics
While both Pfizer and BioNTech have donated vaccines to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for use ahead of the Games this summer, the Brazilian government has also received donations to use for it’s athletes and staff traveling to the Games this summer.
The country will begin a vaccination program for it’s athletes as soon as this week using just over 4,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine donated specifically for Brazil’s Olympic delegation. The country also received an additional 8,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccine, one of the more recent vaccines to become available. Brazil’s Health Minister, Marcelo Querioga, said that athletes will all receive the Pfizer vaccine, while Sinovac’s donation will go toward the national immunization program. This is in part due to a Brazilian law that requires private organizations who receive vaccinations to also make a donation to the public.
Brazil has been slow in it’s dispersion of the vaccine to the country’s citizens, in part due to the hesitancy to purchase them early after their release. While in countries like the United States the vaccine has become available to nearly all age groups, Brazil is still limiting access to its older population.
Sports Authority of India’s Centre of Excellence Experiences Covid-19 Breakout
As countries are working to ensure all of their athletes and staff are vaccinated prior to the Games, India has experience a series of cases of the coronavirus within one of their training centers.
Last week the center had at least five positive cases of Covid-19 within the center’s track and field athletes, including KT Irfan, who had already qualified for the Olympics in the 20 km race walk. While the other positive cases have yet to be confirmed, at least one other case was from another male race walker. The entire hockey team, except for one athlete, training at the center also returned positive tests.
This is the second major outbreak that has taken place in the center, as five of other track and field athletes tested positive for Covid-19 last month. Those whose returned positive tests in the last outbreak included Priyanka Goswami, who is already qualified for the Olympics, and Jinson Johnson, who was the gold medalist in the 1500m at the Asian Games.
The Centre of Excellence is the country’s main training site for track and field, as well as hockey, athletes.