Tokyo Gymnastics Event Gives Insight into Virus Control Capability at Olympics
Four-nation event implemented COVID-19 infection control measures in preparation for next summer’s Tokyo Games
As Tokyo prepares to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, which were rescheduled to summer 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, officials started out small by testing safety precautions at a recent gymnastics event, Kyodo News reports. The Friendship and Solidarity Competition tournament between 32 athletes from four countries—Japan, China, Russia, and the United States—at Yoyogi National Gymnasium provided insight into COVID-19 infection control measures.
The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) organized the event to showcase international camaraderie, according to Yahoo Sports. “One goal is to prove that staging a high-profile event in Tokyo is possible in the current context of the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to the FIG.
The overseas athletes were required to take polymerase chain reaction tests within 72 hours before their arrival in Japan and also undergo daily testing leading up to last week’s event. They were not asked to quarantine for 14 days, which is the normal requirement upon arrival in Japan, as the government allowed them to participate in the competition.
The athletes had to follow FIG’s guidelines for traveling, arrival, and commuting to competition venue prior to the event. According to Reuters, athletes also had to disinfect their hands and feet before entering the competition floor. Additionally, they had to bring their own chalk.
This event tested Tokyo’s safety capability to have an international sports event amid the pandemic. According to Kyodo News, there were up to 2,000 spectators allowed inside the gymnasium to watch the athletes compete. The spectators had to undergo “temperature checks with thermography and provide contact details as well as two weeks of prior health information,” according to Reuters.
Tokyo 2020 Games organizers told Reuters they watched Sunday’s meet closely “to consider the countermeasures and other organizational methods adopted for such events, including the competition.” According to Staradvertiser, the Tokyo Games organizing committee is planning to establish an infectious disease control center to deal with the coronavirus during the Olympics.