With athletes nearing the finish line of their preparations for the Tokyo Olympics, Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President Narinder Batra has backed the contingent to do India proud. He believes that the Indian athletes are mentally strong and that, despite the numerous obstacles they face, including the new quarantine rules for athletes once they arrive in Tokyo, the contingent will triumph.
Batra discussed the new quarantine rules with ANI, the rationale behind involving the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the importance of having fans in the stadiums, and most importantly, his personal assessment of the Indian contingent’s preparations.
The Japanese government has implemented new regulations prohibiting Indian athletes from physically interacting with any other team, delegation, or country for three days following their arrival. Every ten minutes, Batra claims, the IOA is on the verge of having a heart attack.
“We have written to the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (TOCOG) to express our dissatisfaction with the decision. The organising committee has stated that they are investigating and will contact you. It is grossly unfair to the Indian athletes, who will be nearing the end of their preparations and are being asked to sit quietly for three days. Yes, you stated that they will be permitted to train, but where will they train? Nobody will leave it empty from start to finish. Similarly, when it comes to eating, the situation is identical. Where do athletes consume their meals? The body requires proteins, calories, and supplements, among other things; additionally, the intake must be monitored, as each athlete has his or her own plan. We also have vegetarians; therefore, who will be in charge of the diet?
“It provides no clarification. What about those who have been training outside of India and will arrive in Tokyo directly? There are numerous issues that require discussion. As with team sports such as hockey, three days prior to the event, all equipment and supplies are inspected. However, what happens now? There are numerous official meetings for both team and individual sports. What becomes of those? Uniforms and equipment must be cleared. Who is going to keep an eye on these things? It is far more complicated than it is becoming simpler “he indicated.
“We have also written to them regarding some additional points that have come to our attention. As I previously stated, the equipment check and similar items. Because the IOA will be coordinating all of these activities, we are taking them on. I’m not sure if they’ll call or respond to the mail, but ask me honestly, they’ve created a situation where we have a heart attack every ten minutes. As a result, we’re at a loss for what to do, and the situation has deteriorated.”
He believes that the current situation is the result of politicians making calls. “This occurs when politicians attempt to make decisions about sports without first grasping the complexities of the sports. That is how I interpret the entire situation. These are not decisions made by the International Olympic Committee or the organising committee “‘He stated.
“I can confirm that all athletes coming from India are enclosed in bio-bubbles and are being tested twice a week beginning June 1. They will also be tested for the previous seven days, and this is where we run into trouble. They have appointed an agency that states it will take at least 30 hours to provide a report. How do we obtain the report for the seventh day? Will they detain us at Tokyo’s airport?
“When I board the flight, I will not have a report. We cannot go to anyone else because it is an agency organised by an organising committee. They’ve caused so much consternation, but I’m not giving up. We will ensure that everyone passes and participates “As Batra stated.
When asked about the BCCI’s involvement in the Olympic journey, Batra stated: “Anything else that comes up is welcome and beneficial. The goal is to increase awareness of the Olympics. I’m not sure how much focus people have because COVID-19 is causing so much distress. This exercise is designed to engage the public and rally the entire population to support the contingent and cheer on the Indian team. I believe cricketers discussing the Olympics on social media is also part of the understanding; however, how much of that occurs remains to be seen.”
Batra also applauded the decision to allow fans into stadiums, stating that athletes performing in front of empty stands is ineffective. “No athlete wants an empty stand. I’ve heard they’re going to make a decision on Monday, but I haven’t been updated. If the decision has been made, it is a positive one. The main stadium will seat 10,000 people, while other stadiums will have a smaller capacity. Having people cheering is a positive sign “‘He stated.
Batra expressed his hopes for the contingent as an Indian sports fan: “I will remain an Indian regardless of whether I hold an international hockey position or am an IOC member. Whatever position I hold, I do so in my capacity as an Indian. I am pleased with the preparations and continue to believe that we will win multiple medals. Even though there are unfair quarantine rules en route and they may affect us in one or two locations, I believe they should not. Our athletes are mentally tough and resolute. While these factors initially impede your progress, we are working to resolve them. India will continue to participate in unjust conditions.”
Batra also stated that the contingent will consist solely of athletes and their coaching staff. “The IOA’s position is unambiguous: family members will not accompany athletes, as we will not waste the cards. If a family member is a coach or a mental trainer and the position was not acquired overnight, they may leave. We or the NSFs clear those, so if the travel has a history, it will be permitted; otherwise, sorry “He concluded by signing off.
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