IOA says it’s ‘unfair and discriminatory’ as Japan imposes stricter regulations on Indian players & authorities

The Japanese government has required Indian athletes and officials travelling to the Tokyo Olympics to undergo daily COVID-19 tests for a week before departure and not interact with anyone from another nation for three days upon arrival, strictures that have enraged the IOA.

Within 14 days of arriving in Tokyo, all travellers — including athletes, coaches, and support staff — who have resided in 11 countries, including India, where various COVID-19 variants have been detected, have been subjected to stricter requirements.

The Indian Olympic Association has slammed the rules for being “unfair and discriminatory.” After a disastrous second wave, India’s COVID-19 situation has improved significantly, with daily instances falling from over 3 lakh a few weeks ago to just over 60,000 right now. India is grouped with Afghanistan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka in Group 1.

“Before you travel: You must be tested every day, for seven days, before your departure to Japan,” the advisory stated for the Group 1 countries. Athletes and officials will not be able to engage with anyone other than their delegation for three days after arriving. Athletes are required to check into the Games Village five days before the start of their competition.

In a joint statement, IOA president Narinder Batra and secretary-general Rajeev Mehta questioned the new regulations. Several competitors, including weightlifter Mirabai Chanu, wrestler Vinesh Phogat, and javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, are training in other countries and will go to Tokyo from there. However, a large portion of the Indian contingent will depart from India for the Games, and the regulations will have an impact on their training.

The IOA questioned the necessity of the measures, considering that Indian athletes will be properly vaccinated and subjected to daily tests for a week before leaving.

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