Chef de mission Brenda Dale confident Olympic Games will proceed despite Covid-19 uncertainties
Brenda Dale remains confident that the rescheduled Olympic Games in Tokyo will go ahead as planned this year, despite uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic.
Doubts were cast yesterday over the Games, which are set to take place between July 23 and August 8 August, after Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared a state of emergency in the city as a result sudden spike in cases.
The latest measures in Tokyo, led Dick Pound, the longest-serving member of the International Olympic Committee, to question whether the Games would go ahead.
However, it is a belief not shared by Suga, who stated “this declaration offers an opportunity for Tokyo 2020 to plan for a safe and secure Games this summer”.
Meanwhile, Dale, the vice-president of the Bermuda Olympic Association and chef de mission for Tokyo 2020, remains unwavering in her confidence that organisers will do everything necessary to allow the Games to proceed as scheduled.
“I still remain confident that the Games will go ahead as planned,” she said. “Unfortunately, it is unlike any previous Olympic Games we have ever had and I know for our athletes the uncertainty surrounding them is disconcerting.
“It is a difficult situation for our athletes, but I’m certainly remaining confident that the Games will go ahead.
“The vaccinations starting to become available over the coming months should help against the pandemic and I also know that the International Olympic Committee will be putting in a number of counter measures.
“Whereas in the past athletes would travel and stay for the entirety of the Games, it is likely that they will now travel for their event and then head home.
“Unfortunately, we are where we are a this time because the situation is ever-changing. All we can do as an association is remain flexible in terms of our operation and preparation.”
As well as his uncertainty over the Games being staged, Pound also believes that competitors should be high up the priority list when it comes to getting vaccinated.
He also suggested that organisers could make it a condition for them to declare they have received the jab before entering Japan, despite the IOC earlier stating athletes would not be obligated to do so.
While Dale concedes the BOA will have no say in whether Bermuda’s Olympic athletes may be given vaccination priority, she does implore competitors to consider receiving it if and when the opportunity arises.
“Obviously, the BOA have no say whatsoever over who has priority to receive the vaccination,” she added in response to Pound’s suggestion. “The Government and health department are the only ones who will determine who will get access to it, and I’d like to think priority will be given to those most in need.
“However, I would encourage our athletes to have the vaccination if they have the opportunity to do so. I think most would consider it anyway, but I would certainly encourage it.
“After all their efforts to qualify for the Olympics, it would be a real shame if they can’t compete because of complications due to the virus.”