New Telegraph

February 22, 2024

COVID-19 effects and the essence of Olympic Games

The postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games opening ceremony is just barely five days away but the excitement of the big event is not as much as expected all over the world. Usually, with a year to the Games, the countdown begins from all sides of the competition. As the organisers tidy up the venues for the competition, the Olympics torch will travel round all the continents of the world and also major cities around the globe.

For the events, athletes face qualification fever to get a ticket to the best and biggest sports event which takes place every four years Olympics is the biggest assemblage of people all over the world and it is always a bragging right of sort to officially be part of the games. Host cities battle with huge number of people who offer themselves as volunteers of the games just to receive a certificate of participation and to be on record as being part of Olympism. The International Olympic Committee has always made it clear that the major goal of the event is generally boost world peace and so the friendliness and participation are vital.

Opening and closing ceremonies of the event are always very entertaining and captivating with lasting memories in the minds of viewers about the special effects displayed by artists, notable superstars and youths while cultural effects of the host city will also be exhibited. Also, the international zone of the games at every competition is always a meeting place for all accredited participating athletes, officials, journalists and families of the athletes. It is always close to the games village. Sad enough, COVID-19 which forced the event to be postponed last year is yet to fully abate and so the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games will only be witnessed by the VIPs while the international zone has been cancelled for the forthcoming Tokyo event. Accredited journalists for the Games were told there will be no media centre or media tribune.

They will not even have access to the games or the athletes, rather, they will be given a link to watch specific events on their laptops in their respective hotels. And so, the world is about to witness many strange things in the forthcoming Olympics in Tokyo. The event has aptly been tagged the ‘Unusual Games’ Only on Monday, July 12, the government of Japan declared a state of emergency in Tokyo and some other parts of the country. Supermarkets, bars and all major public places were banned too. Visitors, like the participants of the Games, are banned from entering super markets to get any items needed for daily routine or food items.

The Nigeria Olympic Committee and the ministry of sports should liase with the country’s embassy in Tokyo on how best to get local foods for the athletes. It is also possible to carry some of these food items from Nigeria to Japan such that the athletes will be in the best frame of mind to compete. In line with the various logistics on restrictions and other obstacles ahead of the Games, it is also important for Team Nigeria to travel with a strong team of doctors and psychologists to work on the athletes on a daily basis to make them comfortable to give their best. The doctors are to constantly work on Team Nigeria and advise on the dos and don’ts in the competition. It is important for all the participants especially Nigerians, to study the Tokyo Olympics Notebook where every aspect of the operations is clearly stipulated with emphasis on the COVID-19 angle to the games.

The citizens are not happy the games will go ahead but the Japanese government has committed so much money in the Olympic Games project just like the International Olympic Committee. Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, said the ministry and the NOC were aware of the challenges ahead. “We have taken care of various aspects of the logistics to be faced in Tokyo. We are also getting set to handle every situation because we have our advance team there in the past two weeks working hard to make the stay of Team Nigeria comfortable, “ Dare said. Team Nigeria athletes should be psychologically ready for this big event which requires strong character from each of them.

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