(ATR) One of the key meetings ahead of any Olympics is held online instead of on the scene in Tokyo. The customary assembly for the chefs de mission usually brings several hundred delegates across the world to the Olympic host city for face-to-face briefings as well as on the scene visits to the Olympic Village and other venues.
Instead, Tokyo 2020 has organized the event this week to be held virtually. Travel to Tokyo for the representatives of the world’s 206 National Olympic Committees is still problematic, if not impossible due to restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic.
But the ability to go online for the chefs meeting has made it possible for Tokyo organizers to structure the briefing into three separate sections this week according to language. For the opening session Monday, English was the rule. Later this week presentations will be made in French and Spanish. It is the first time for a chefs meeting to be organized in such a manner.
IOC Pres. Thomas Bach and Tokyo 2020 Pres. Yoshiro Mori both delivered pep talks to the chefs meeting. Bach reiterated his conviction that Tokyo is the best prepared Olympics ever, assuring the sports leaders that the Olympicsand Paralympics will take place next July and August. But he cautioned that many questions remain to be settled in the months ahead.
"Even in these ever-changing times, many of the operation details that are on top of all chefs de mission’s minds are still being worked on. But please rest assured that we are focused on developing a tool box of COVID countermeasures for every possible scenario," said the IOC leader.
"The fact that I can only greet you virtually is itself a reflection of the unprecedented situation we all are facing," he said in his remarks recorded prior to the meeting.
Among the crucial questions facing the NOCs will be the entry of athletes to Japan. It is not known yet whether athletes will need to quarantine before and after their journeys to Japan. That issue is being considered by a group of experts from the government of Japan, city of Tokyo and Tokyo 2020.
In his comments Mori acknowledged the high level of anxiety around the globe about preparations for Tokyo 2020 among the NOCs. He did warn that they will have to adjust to the evolving landscape regarding the pandemic.
"You will no doubt be most affected by the various anti-corona measures that will be put in place," he promised.
Written by Ed Hula.