Friday Sep 24, 2021
Friday Sep 24, 2021

Australian Olympic team to minimize use of gym, dining hall

2021 Jul 07, 17:10, CANBERRA
A bird rests with a backdrop of the Olympic rings floating in the water in the Odaiba section Thursday, April 8, 2021, in Tokyo. Two top officials of Japan's ruling LDP party on Thursday, April 15, 2021, said radical changes could be coming to the Tokyo Olympics. One went as far to suggest they still could be canceled, and the other that even if they proceed, it might be without any fans. (Photo via AP)

The Australian delegation to the Tokyo Olympics will refrain from using the gym in the Olympic village and will spend as little time as possible in the dining hall to avoid COVID-19 infections, said David Hughes, the team's chief medical officer.

As the Tokyo Olympics approaches, the lingering COVID-19 pandemic has posed a threat to athletes.

When asked about this by Xinhua at a virtual press conference, Hughes listed four key areas that might be of high risk for the Australian team, namely the airport, the dining hall, the village gymnasium, and transportation during the Games.

He added that he expected delays at the airport. "It's a busy place even without COVID," he said. "It's a big job for any nation to have people flying in from all over the world, and get them through all the processes that need to take place."

For the Australian delegation, the biggest day of arrivals in Tokyo will be July 17, when 284 team members land. Hughes said he hoped they would pass through quickly, and noted some other key risks in the Olympic village.

He noted that the gym would be a high-risk environment "because people are exercising indoors. Certainly the Australian team is going to try and avoid the village gymnasium as much as possible," he said.

The team has set up their own gym in the basement of the Australian team headquarters. "That gives our athletes an option that doesn't involve going to the village gymnasium."

Another area of risk would be the dining hall, where Hughes hoped that people could "grab and go", spending as little time as possible inside.

In the Australian team headquarters, an area has been allocated for athletes to take food, which Hughes said would "lessen their requirement for use of the dining hall."

Finally, athletes will be given masks of hospital grade, which they will wear on the Games transport from the village to training and competition venues.

"My understanding is that there's going to be ventilation on the Games transport, so that certainly lessens the risk," he said.

After being postponed for one year, the Tokyo Olympics will open on July 23. The Australian Olympic Committee has announced a team of 472 athletes to compete in Tokyo, including 254 women and 218 men. It is the second largest delegation that Australia has sent to an overseas Olympics. 


Australia Olympic team Tokyo Olympics Australian Delegation

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