Olympic vacation a significant problem for some Pacific Island groups


FILE – In this Aug. 11, 2016, file image, Fiji rugby gamers present off their gold medal soon after defeating Britain in the gold medal mens rugby sevens match from Britain at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It was rugby in rapidly ahead and it produced millions of new admirers throughout the globe. Rugby sevens designed its Olympic debut in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 bringing all the typical hard-hitting tackles, collisions and swerving runs but leaving out the slow-mo factors of the conventional 15-a-aspect game. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)


Well-known athletes in sports like tennis and golf heading to the Tokyo Olympics will most likely get there in Japan at the entrance of the airplane.

It is a model to which the athletes of the Pacific Islands are unaccustomed. Fiji’s gold medal-winning men’s rugby sevens crew will get there in Tokyo together with the other members of their nationwide team on Thursday on a cargo/freight flight which is hauling primarily frozen fish.

Business passenger flights to and from Pacific nations have turn into scarce through the pandemic. Lorraine Mar, the chief executive of the Fiji Affiliation of Sports activities and Countrywide Olympic Committee, stated Wednesday that arranging vacation for the Fiji crew to Tokyo has been a “logistical problem.”

Mar explained all-around 51 athletes and officials, mostly the Fiji men’s and women’s sevens squad, will be on Thursday’s flight from Fiji’s principal intercontinental airport at Nadi. It is a frequently-scheduled freight flight which has some capability for travellers.

The sevens groups a short while ago have been dependent in Australia where by the Fiji gentlemen won the Oceania Sevens title in Townsville, Queensland two months in the past. The men’s group gave Fiji its to start with-at any time Olympic gold medal when it won the inaugural Olympic rugby sevens match in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

The Fiji groups were being initially predicted to fly directly from Australia to Tokyo, but plans were changed at the previous minute thanks to new COVID-19-similar restrictions in Asia.

Aside from the sevens teams, the Fiji crew consists of just one monitor and industry athlete, two swimmers, a feminine table tennis player and a judo competitor who currently is based mostly in Japan.

Mar stated dealing with athletes’ departures from Japan also is a problem. The IOC necessitates athletes to vacate the Olympic village inside of 48 hrs of the conclusion of their gatherings.

Fiji has a flight booked from Tokyo to Nadi on July 29, following the sevens tournament has concluded and which could also have other athletes who have been eradicated or have concluded competing. Yet another flight is booked on Aug. 10.

Mar hopes the IOC will grant dispensation for athletes who are not able to straight away attain flights household to continue to be in the village right until travel is accessible.

Amid other Pacific Island nations, Samoa has by now withdrawn its three-member weightlifting from the online games simply because all are based mostly in Samoa and the Samoa authorities is involved about the unfold of COVID-19 in Japan. Eight Samoan athletes who are primarily based overseas will however compete.

They comprise two boxers based in Australia, four sailors and canoeists centered in New Zealand, a monitor athlete dependent in the United States and a judoka centered in Japan.

Tonga will mail 6 competition, all but two of whom are centered overseas. They include things like Pita Taufatofua — the “naked Tongan” — who was a bare-chested sensation when he carried the Tongan flag in the opening ceremony of the Rio video games.

Taufatofua, who will contend in taekwondo in Tokyo, also represented Tonga in cross-region snowboarding at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.


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