The New Zealand Team Chef de Mission Rob Waddell is calling the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Test Events invaluable, with Kiwi athletes and support teams trialling systems and processes in the unique host city environment.
The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee is running more than 50 test events prior to the Olympic Games to ensure the Games run smoothly.
The Test Events are a key part of New Zealand Team athlete preparation, allowing them to experience the Olympic venues and local conditions.
New Zealand Team Chef de Mission Rob Waddell is in Tokyo and has attended a number of the events.
“The test events are going really well, it’s a great chance for our teams to come up here and experience the conditions, competition and environment. It’s great to do a pre-run ahead of next year,” said Waddell.
“The athletes and their support teams are learning a lot from being up here and we are too so it’s great to be here with them.”
Above: Rob Waddell in Tokyo
The temperature and humidity in Tokyo has been high for much of the recent competition and Waddell says that's reinforced the importance of heat preparation strategies.
“It’s been hot but it’s nothing that we haven’t been expecting. We’ve been working closely with HPSNZ (High Performance Sport New Zealand) to make sure we’ve got the right coping strategies in place.
“At the same time, nothing beats coming here and experiencing it for yourself. A lot of our sports have now experienced it first-hand and it adds to the urgency around attention to detail and making sure we do everything well,” said Waddell.
Waddell will also be attending the Tokyo 2020 Chef de Mission conference while in Japan. The conference gives an overview of how Games preparation is progressing.
“The Games are tracking really well and we’re really pleased with what we’ve seen.
“There’s less than a year to go and everywhere we go things look to be ready, it was amazing to turn up at the Olympic Village yesterday and not recognise it from six months ago, so it’s great to see the progress.”
Just over 11-months out from the Games Waddell is confident the New Zealand Team is building well towards Tokyo 2020.
“The New Zealand Team is tracking really well and is on track to be our biggest Olympic team ever.
“There’s a lot of water to go under the bridge between now and then with athletes needing to qualify and be selected but we’re excited and looking forward to a brilliant Games.”
The Tokyo 2020 Chef de Mission Conference runs August 19-23.