New Delhi [India], June 3 (ANI): Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Narinder Batra on Thursday said that the upcoming Tokyo Games will be a level playing field for everyone involved and opined that there is no country that has a significant advantage heading into the Games.
Tokyo Olympics will begin on July 23 and the Games will run up to August 8 this year. The event was slated to be held last year, but it was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Athletes have been preparing well, they are as fit as any other in the world. They are raring to go, preparation is going on. Some athletes are here in India, some are abroad, some will reach Tokyo directly. It would be a level playing field for all. The entire contingent is preparing well. When every stakeholder (NSFs, SAI) is on the same page, the work is streamlined," Batra told ANI.
When asked about the vaccination of Olympic-bound athletes, Batra said: "From IOC's side, there is nothing mandatory, they have some guidelines in Tokyo, if you reach the finals and then you test positive for COVID-19, so nobody knows what will happen. But why wait for such a situation, the best solution is that we get every party associated vaccinated. It is our duty to get our athletes vaccinated."
Talking about the flag-bearer for the Indian contingent in the upcoming Games, Batra said: "The entire contingent needs to get finalised first and then we will announce the flag-bearer."
Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju along with the IOA president and other athletes on Thursday unveiled India's Olympic kit.
Speaking about it, the Minister said: "Yes, today this countdown -- 50 days to the Olympics, now every day is very important and every day and moment will matter. The uniform, Olympic kit is very important, you wear it and you play for the country. Unveiling of Olympics kit is very important and it gives new impetus to the 'josh' of our players. Many of our athletes are here in India and some of them are abroad, I am very happy. India is working very hard and is preparing well for the Olympics."
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday reviewed India's preparations for the Tokyo Olympics as the showpiece event is just 50 days away.
"A presentation was made by officials on various aspects of operational readiness for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. During the course of the review, the Prime Minister was apprised about the various steps taken towards ensuring uninterrupted training for athletes amidst the pandemic, participation in international competitions to win Olympic quota, vaccination of athletes, and customised support being provided to them," stated an official release.
The PM was also apprised about the vaccination status of athletes and support staff. The Prime Minister then directed that every qualified and probable athlete, support staff, and officials travelling to the Tokyo Olympics must be vaccinated as soon as possible. (ANI)