AOC Forms Special CCP Virus Project for Tokyo Olympics

December 14, 2020 Updated: December 14, 2020

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has launched a special project to help athletes and sports navigate the hurdles imposed by the CCP virus pandemic at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Dubbed Project Wagasa (Japanese for umbrella), it will encompass qualifying events, overseas competitions, pre-Games training camps, as well as competing in and returning from Tokyo.

“Our job is to ensure the sports can qualify their athletes with the least amount of logistical difficulty and assemble the Australian Team next year to have their Olympic moment. The Games are on, and we are going to fulfil our promise. In achieving that goal, the safety of athletes and officials is paramount,” AOC CEO Matt Carol said in a media release.

Former Japanese swimmer Imoto Naoko holds the Olympic torch during the Olympic flame handover ceremony for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, in Panathenaic Stadium, Athens, Greece, on March 19, 2020. (Aris Messinis/Pool via Reuters)

Chef de Mission for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Team, Ian Chesterman, said the CCP virus poses “huge difficulties.”

“The AOC has moved to be very proactive to be able to provide the best possible advice and safety net for our athletes and support staff as we prepare for the Games, and at the Games,” Chesterman said.

“We are on the front foot to provide the very best support and solutions [in] the lead-up and at the Games,” he added.

Australia will send a team of around 480 athletes to Tokyo to contest 37 sports—likely to be the third biggest team at the Games behind hosts Japan and the United States which will be held in the summer of 2021.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Tokyo Olympic organisers have issued guidelines for the entry and exit of athletes from the Games.

Athletes will fly in and out of Tokyo within days of their competition in a bid to reduce the risks associated with the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus (novel coronavirus) risks.

“We now know that the IOC and the organisers are looking to minimise the numbers in the Olympic Village at any one time,” Chesterman said.

People wearing masks in Japan
People wearing masks sit in front of a countdown clock for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, on Feb. 18, 2020. (Jae C. Hong/AP Photo, File)

He expected more specifics around COVID-19 testing protocols, travel, and restrictions in Tokyo to be announced by organisers in January.

“We won’t be rushing into a formal policy … because we want to wait and hear what the COVID countermeasures are,” Chesterman said.

“It’s very clear that we’re all going into an environment which we haven’t dealt with before.

“If there’s a mass rollout of vaccines before the Games it will obviously improve things considerably in terms of just minimising the risk of the impact of COVID during the Games,” he said.

To support the project, the AOC has announced a partnership with health specialists Aspen Medical to provide a range of specialist services to assist in the process.

Aspen Medical Executive Chairman Glenn Keys said, “Our Olympic athletes have trained hard for this goal, and we are proud to have been chosen by the AOC to ensure they can compete safely in Tokyo and Beijing.”

“As our Aspen Medical motto states—Wherever we are needed continues to be employed throughout all aspects of supporting Australian citizens,” Keys said.

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