Mexican Olympians No Longer Going to Tokyo on Presidential Plane

(ATR) The Mexican NOC president declines the offer, citing the current Covid-19 logistics for athletes heading to Olympics.

(ATR) The Mexican government's initiative to transport Mexican athletes to the Olympic Games in Tokyo on the presidential plane remains wishful thinking.

"It is a good intention, but it will be very complicated to travel in it, because it cannot make enough flights to take the athletes, who have to be there five days before and return the day after their participation. It is very difficult," commented the president of the Mexican Olympic Committee, Carlos Padilla Becerra to the national press.

According to El Universal, the head of the COM thanked the Federal Government for its support, however, due to logistical issues related to sanitary measures, the aircraft cannot be used, unless something unforeseen happens.

In a press conference, the President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, let it be known that he was unaware of this argument. "If he does not accept the COM, there is no problem," he said.

The president said that his proposal for the presidential plane "was an option". He recalled that since the plane is luxurious, no buyer has been found yet, despite the efforts made. "Anyway, what we save by not using it is a lot," said the president, who uses commercial flights for his travels.

On the other hand, Ana Gabriela Guevara, head of the National Commission of Physical Culture and Sports (Conade), explained that the proposal to use the presidential plane was to reduce possible contagions of Covid-19, since if any athlete tested positive, they would practically be out of the competition, according to statements to Grupo Fórmula.

The former runner, runner-up in the 2004 Athens Olympics, explained that since 2020 López Obrador had raised this possibility of transporting the Olympic team to Tokyo 2020.

The Mexican delegation has an agreement with All Nippon Airways (ANA) to make the more than 120 trips scheduled before, during and after the mega-event that will begin in 50 days.

Arturo Herrera, Secretary of Finance and Public Credit had previously announced that the presidential plane flew to California for maintenance, due to the plan to transport the athletes to Tokyo.

The sanitary measures needed for Covid-19 will make it impossible for the Boeing 787-8 to be a part of the COM plans, unless an unforeseen event occurs.

"On our part, we sincerely thank the Government for their good intentions, Secretary Herrera, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Ana Gabriela but the logistics are already very complicated unless there is some contingency," added Padilla.

The COM President recalled that the Mexican Delegation will hold a camp in Hiroshima and their flights are already scheduled. Others will travel in small groups before and during the Olympic Games, so it is not economical for a plane of that size to be in constant movement between the end of July and the beginning of August.

"The logistics presented by Japan for these Games is difficult, because the athletes, as soon as they finish their participation, must return the next day and that is achieved with a contracted airline," Padilla explained to El Universal.

López Obrador said in his morning press conference that "in any case" he would continue to support the athletes and announced "additional prizes" above those of the last Olympic cycle.

The Mexican president did not reveal the new figures for the monetary awards for the Olympic medalists in Tokyo and that he would do so in a future meeting with the athletes.

For Rio de Janeiro 2016, 500,000 Mexican pesos were awarded for the gold medal, 250,000 for silver and 125,000 for bronze. Currently, one dollar is equal to 20.3 Mexican pesos.

"I am sure we are going to do very well in the Olympics," said López Obrador.

Written by Miguel Hernandez

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