With Saturday January 23rd marking six months to the postponed Tokyo Olympic Games, the New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) is ramping up its preparations for a vastly different Olympic Games.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Tokyo Organising Committee have reiterated their commitment to the Games taking place in Tokyo from July 23rd to August 8th, 2021.
NZOC CEO Kereyn Smith says the global situation is incredibly challenging and the New Zealand Team is preparing to work within strict countermeasures on which the Games will be based.
“The Olympic Games will be a vastly different event from what we're used to,” said Smith.
“We need to ensure that athletes are safe and secure and this will require strict implementation of a wide range of countermeasures. These will include; mask-wearing, testing, social distancing, hygiene requirements, restrictions around access to non-essential people, limited time in the Olympic environment and more.”
Smith says, as always, the NZOC’s number one focus is supporting its athletes.
“We cannot overstate the importance of the Games to athletes, although the dates have changed their ambitions have not. They desperately want the Games to happen,” said Smith.
“We’re doing everything we can to prepare our athletes and wider team for the Olympic Games in this unprecedented environment.”
The Covid vaccine is expected to play an important part in delivering the Games, with the IOC encouraging all delegations to be vaccinated ahead of the competition.
“We support the IOC position on the vaccine and will encourage all our team members to get vaccinated where possible,” said Smith.
“We look forward to working with the New Zealand Government on the allocation of vaccines within the wider public system that will help protect New Zealand athletes as they represent our nation on the world stage.”
Meanwhile, the NZOC is keeping in regular contact with athletes and working with National Sporting Organisations (NSOs), High Performance Sport New Zealand (HPSNZ) and the global sporting community to ensure the New Zealand Team is prepared for the Games environment.
“All athletes are handling the situation differently but we, guided by the NZOC Athletes’ Commission and along with HPSNZ and NSOs, are working to support them as we navigate this unprecedented and challenging situation,” said Smith.
“We’d like to thank our athletes for their continued determination, positive resolve and commitment to representing New Zealand.”