India’s parliamentary panel on Thursday said that “athletes, coaches and support staff going for the Tokyo Olympics should be put in the priority group for the Covid-19 vaccination.”
The parliamentary standing committee on Education, Women, Children, Youth and Sports, which is headed by Vinay P Sahasrabuddhe, submitted a report om ‘Preparation for Olympics – 2021’ to India’s vice president and Rajya Sabha Chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu.
“Our suggestions were sought on all aspects towards the preparation of our athletes for the Tokyo Olympics. We were of the same view on vaccination. It is a welcome move,” said IOA secretary general Rajiv Mehta.
Tokyo Olympics was set to take place this year, but they were postponed by a year due to coronavirus pandemic. The Games will now begin on July 23, 2021, and will host approximately 11,0000 athletes.
The International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach has said IOC will appeal to athletes to get the vaccine, but it will not be a mandatory requirement.
“We will encourage athletes that whenever possible they have the vaccination because it is better for their health, and it is also a demonstration of solidarity with their fellow athletes and also the Japanese people,” Bach had said during a visit to Tokyo last month.
According to the parliamentary panel, the pandemic and travel restrictions have affected the training of athletes. The panel also recommended that should host some international tournaments in India to help athletes prepare. As per them, it will also help them fill up vacancies for coaches.
“About 561 vacancies exist for coaches. This is unacceptable. These should be filled up within a specific time-bound manner so that Olympic preparations don’t suffer,” the committee said in the report.
“International competitions should be accorded priority as they prepare athletes for pressure situations hey may find themselves in during the actual Olympics,” it noted.
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