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Team GB athletes are facing six days of hard quarantine when they arrive in Tokyo

·2-min read
Photo credit: PHILIP FONG - Getty Images
Photo credit: PHILIP FONG - Getty Images

Team GB athletes will likely have to undergo hard quarantine for six days when they arrive in Tokyo, putting their preparation and fitness for the games in doubt.

A spokesperson for Tokyo 2020 said athletes were not exempt from restrictions imposed by the Japanese government last week amid rising concern over the Delta coronavirus variant in the UK. Although the government has begun to ease emergency measures in the capital, daily cases are not falling as fast as had been hoped, with Tokyo seeing 452 new cases yesterday, 13 more than the same day last week.

According to a report from the Press Association, Tokyo 2020 spokesperson Masa Takaya said: ‘Quarantine for six days is required for some countries where the same treatment will be imposed to athletes and media.’

Athletes who fail to comply with such rules could face serious consequences, such as exclusion from the games, disqualification or financial sanctions, under updated guidelines published by the International Olympic Committee on Tuesday.

The hard quarantine restrictions could be a threat to athletes' preparedness for competition. In January, tennis players and their teams were required to quarantine for 14 days before the Australian Open, leading to players hitting tennis balls against the walls of their hotel rooms to practice, BBC Sport said.

Speaking to PA, a spokesperson from the British Olympic Authority said: ‘We continue to have positive dialogue with the IOC and the Tokyo Organising Committee, following our letter to the president of Tokyo 2020.

‘Our approach to additional testing measures and vaccinations for the delegation prior to departure and upon arrival demonstrate we are doing everything possible to minimise any risk to the people of Japan.’

According to BBC Sport, the BOA is optimistic that it will be able to persuade Japanese authorities to exempt athletes and officials from quarantine if certain conditions are met, including two vaccine doses and extensive testing. BOA chairman Sir Hugh Robertson wrote to Tokyo organising committee president Seiko Hashimoto last week, emphasising that Team GB is ‘doing everything possible to minimise any risk to the people of Japan.’

Athletes are reportedly already facing an intense daily testing schedule while in Japan. They will also be both accompanied by supervisors and tracked by GPS as they travel from their accommodation to Games venues.

They have been advised to maintain rigorous social distancing, in particular to avoid contact with the Japanese public, over 80% of whom opposed the Olympics going ahead in a poll taken this May.

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