Chong Wei: Brace yourself for a tough yet unique Olympics

PETALING JAYA: National badminton legend Lee Chong Wei, a four-time Olympian himself, is certain that the delayed Tokyo Olympics from July 23-Aug 8 will be one like no other – thanks to the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Chong Wei, the Malaysian chef de mission for the Tokyo Games, called on all the Tokyo-bound athletes to brace themselves for a tough yet unique Olympics with a host of strict Covid-19 health and safety protocols being put in place.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics organisers had recently released a 33-page athletes “Playbook”, which spells out their plans to stage a safe Games for more than 11,000 athletes from 206 nations.

This rule book was made by organisers in a bid to ensure that the Games can safely go ahead despite the rising Covid-19 cases.

Apart from the regular SOPs such as maintaining social distancing, mask wearing and zero tolerance for positive test, the Playbook also states that athletes will not need to quarantine and get vaccinated to compete.

Chong Wei, who participated in the Tokyo 2020 Chefs de Mission briefing on the Playbook on Tuesday, said the rule book would come in handy for the Olympic Council of Malaysia’s (OCM) preparations for the contingent.

“We welcome the publication of the Playbook by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Organising Committee, ” said Chong Wei.

“The Playbook not only provides direction that will assist us in our planning and preparation but it also provides much needed clarity to our athletes and officials on how the organisers are planning to make the Olympic Games a safe and secure one.

“This Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will be a unique experience for everyone.

“For the Games to happen with Covid-19 in our midst, we understand that there will be additional conditions and restraints and our athletes and officials will need to make sacrifices, be adaptable and flexible.”

Chong Wei said he was grateful that he did not have to go through all these predicaments in all his past four Olympic Games participations.

“I have been to Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016, luckily I didn’t experience anything like now, ” said Chong Wei.

“Even prior to the 2004 Games, there was SARS outbreak in Hong Kong a year before that. Fortunately, it happened for a short period of time.”

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