The purpose of this biweekly update is to keep everyone within the Paralympic Movement informed of the latest developments with the COVID-19 pandemic and how it relates to the Paralympic Games and Para sport.
This week’s update contains the following information:
Report from the Tokyo 2020 Chef de Mission webinars
Latest updates from Tokyo 2020 and the IPC
Latest World Health Organisation update
This week, there has been a series of Tokyo 2020 NPC Chef de Mission webinars. Hundreds of participants across the world have taken part in the virtual sessions which have been delivered in English, French and Spanish. We thought it would be useful for Members to have a broader report on the content of the webinars, as they contained several important and timely updates.
The details of this webinar are extensive, so the newsletter concentrates on that this week. Among the information updates are details of: Preparation for the new Games; IPC briefing on COVID-19; an update on the Third-Party Council planning. There are also specific updates on venues, Paralympic Village, accommodation, ticketing, ceremonies, uniforms and qualification.
We want this mail to continually highlight initiatives that National Paralympic Committees (NPCs), International Federations (IFs) and athletes are doing. If you would like to let us know about your story or raise awareness of any other initiative, then please get in contact at email@example.com.
Report from the Tokyo 2020 NPC Chef de Mission webinars
Tokyo 2020 and the IPC this week held landmark NPC Chef de Mission webinars over three separate days, and with sessions in English, French and Spanish. The webinars come at an important time both in the planning cycle for the Games next year, but also as the rearrangements of recent months provides more definitive updates.
The webinars began with opening remarks from Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori and IPC President Andrew Parsons, and then detailed updates across a range of topics. Below we cover some of the key elements of the NPC Chef de Mission webinar:
Preparation for the New Games
Tokyo 2020 explained that next year's Tokyo 2020 Games will be simple, safe and secure through simplification and COVID-19 countermeasures. Following a review of 52 items already 30 billion Yen of cost reductions have been forecast.
Progress has been made – the same venues and competition schedule for the Paralympic Games have been confirmed.
Consideration and discussion of COVID-19 countermeasures is in progress. An interim report will be shared by the end of year.
IPC briefing on COVID-19
The IPC detailed the governance, scenario planning and countermeasures that the IPC is planning for in regard to COVID-19.
Governance planning that the IPC is involved in includes: Coordination Commission (twice a year); All Partners Task Force on COVID-19 (monthly); Independent Expert Panel (monthly); IOC Here We Go Task Force (Weekly)
A range of scenarios have been assessed. A base case scenario of how to live with the situation around the world is the current approach.
All partners are currently working on the development of countermeasures across six pillars: travel and entry to Japan; physical distancing; PPE and cleaning; test, track and isolate; vaccines; information provision.
A ‘Return to Sport’ programme is in place. International sport has restarted in nine Paralympic sports, with another two scheduled in 2020. Event organisers are following strict return to sport guidelines.
There are events taking place counting towards Tokyo 2020 qualification [Athletics (marathon), and Wheelchair Tennis]. IFs are confirming dates and locations of qualification events postponed or cancelled in 2020, most events are scheduled for the early months of 2021.
Key dates on COVID-19 countermeasures are:
December 2020: interim report on countermeasures to be shared with stakeholders.
April/May 2021: COVID-19 countermeasures to be tested at Test Events.
May 2021: finalisation of all operational plans and details of operational implementation to be completed.
Actions by the Japanese Three-Party Council
This council brings together the Government of Japan, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Tokyo 2020.
The fourth coordination meeting for COVID-19 countermeasures at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games took place on 27 October.
The meeting focused on anti-virus measures for stakeholders and anti-virus steps that municipalities involved in the Tokyo Games should take.
The next meeting will look at anti-virus measures for spectators.
An interim summary is planned for compilation by December 2020.
The same competition venue programme remains in place: 22 sports, 539 events across 21 venues.
Detailed venue information is under review for general venue optimisation and COVID-19 countermeasures. Sport updates are planned to be shared on Tokyo 2020 Connect in December 2020 on a sport-by-sport basis.
Training venues will open on the day of the opening of the Paralympic Village on 17 August 2021. An updated Training Venue List will be available on Tokyo 2020 Connect by the end of October 2020.
18 Test Events have yet to be held, including three Paralympic ones – Athletics, Swimming and Wheelchair Rugby.
On testing to take place in 2021: (a) Flexibility on timing depends on sporting calendar with a view to scheduling as close to the Games as possible. (b) January-March will be avoided due to Beijing 2022 test events.
The pre-opening period has been shortened by one day. The pre-opening is from 08:00 on 15 August until 08:00 on 17 August 2021.
Key changes include:
Most guest rooms reserved for the Games in 2020 will be available for the Games in 2021.
Accommodation timeline including cancellation, invoice and payment has been extended to 2021.
Renewed accommodation allocation procedure for the Games in 2021 has been announced.
Updates following the postponement:
Following the Games; postponement, Tokyo 2020 Ticketing Team worked on a programme of adjustments and provided close communication with all participating parties.
The updated competition schedule was announced in August 2020. The purchased tickets will be valid for the same session on the new 2021 date.
The current seat assignment is subject to change for various reasons including venue plan changes.
Ticket return opportunity was provided from 24 August to 2 October 2020. Tokyo 2020 is planning to provide an additional return opportunity within 2020.
Additional ticket purchase opportunities will be announced upon confirmation.
Planning continues for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, although they could be subject to change.
Each NPC may nominate one female flag bearer and one male flag bearer to march jointly during the Opening Ceremony.
Only flag bearers will march at the Closing Ceremony.
The IPC confirmed that non-branded or national identity (national flag) face masks will be permitted.
Boccia, Equestrian, Football 5-a-side, Goalball, Wheelchair Basketball, Wheelchair Rugby have concluded their qualifications.
Qualification period has been extended for the rest of the disciplines.
Tokyo 2020 & IPC updates
Japan to test virus risk at near-capacity stadium
Japan’s extensive work to ensure that there will be safe stadia for the Tokyo Games continues apace. This weekend they will test measures for preventing the spread of the coronavirus at events. The three-day trial from October 30, will see large numbers of spectators in a trial in a baseball stadium in Yokohama packed to near capacity. The stadium is one of the venues that will be used for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The test will take place across several baseball matches. During the games, multiple high-definition cameras will examine the movements of people inside the stadium, the density and the percentage of people who wear masks.
A supercomputer will analyse the data which will show, for example, how saliva droplets spread when spectators wearing masks yell out, eat and drink, among other activities. During the games, announcements and security guards will encourage the fans to wear masks. Officials involved in the test will rate the effectiveness of such measures.
Japan last month raised the limit to 10,000 from 5,000 but retained a ceiling of 50 percent of a venue's capacity for events with over 10,000 spectators, such as professional baseball games, effective through the end of November.
The Tokyo Aquatics Centre opens its doors and lanes
The grand opening ceremony of Tokyo Aquatics centre took place on 24 October. This is the last grand opening ceremony of the six venues that are newly built for the Games by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG).
The Tokyo Aquatics Centre will host Olympic swimming, diving, artistic swimming, and Paralympic swimming competitions. At the Paralympic Games, swimming spreads across 10 days with medal events taking place every single day.
The Tokyo Aquatics Centre includes a 10-lane main pool, a sub pool and a diving pool and will have a seating capacity of 15,000 at Games-time. It will become the cornerstone of Japanese swimming after Tokyo 2020.
It will also function as a swimming facility where everyone, from children to seniors, can engage in sports and improve their health and wellbeing. With the Tokyo 2020 Games postponed to July 2021, the TMG has decided to open the facility for private use as well as to sports federations for competition and practice use from 25 October 2020: a glimpse of the Games’ rich legacy even before they take place.
Olympic Flame begins its Japanese journey
In another positive sign of a new normal in Japan, their Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications announced on 27 October that the Olympic Flame will visit 73 municipalities in 14 prefectures beginning 7 November through 16 March.
Refugee Paralympic Team to send out a message of hope
This week the IPC confirmed plans to send up to six athletes to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games as part of a Refugee Paralympic Team (RPT). The IPC will work with its commercial partners (Airbnb, Panasonic and ASICS) and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, to create awareness of the plight faced by refugee athletes and send a message of hope to the almost 80 million forcibly displaced worldwide.
Leading the team will be Ileana Rodriguez – herself both a former refugee and a London 2012 Paralympian – who has been appointed the Chef de Mission for the RPT. Rodriguez will work with the IPC to select the RPT for Tokyo 2020, which will be chosen from a strong pool of already identified refugee Para athletes with the potential to make the Games.
Tokyo 2020 Paralympic competition schedule
Tokyo 2020 Qualification
The qualification regulations for all 22 sports can be found here: https://www.paralympic.org/tokyo-2020/qualification-criteria
Para sport event postponements and cancellations
The list of cancelled Para sport events remains on the IPC website and is being regularly updated. You can find details here.
World Health Organisation update
According to WHO’s latest Daily Situation Dashboard on 29 October 2020 10:33 CEST, the number of confirmed worldwide cases has risen to over 44 million, although John Hopkins University of Medicine is reporting that over 30 million people have recovered. Three countries – the USA, India and Brazil – account for around half of all recorded global cases.
Last week saw the highest number of COVID-19 cases reported so far. Many countries in the northern hemisphere are seeing a concerning rise in cases and hospitalisations. And intensive care units are filling up to capacity in some places, particularly in Europe and North America.
The WHO has stressed that the fight back against this pandemic is everyone’s business. We cannot have the economic recovery we want and live our lives the way we did before the pandemic. We can keep our kids in school, we can keep businesses open, we can preserve lives and livelihoods, we can have sport, but we must all make trade-offs, compromises and sacrifices.
The IPC continues to use the WHO and their site as its main source of information regarding the COVID-19. It provides regular situation reports and have a wide range of guidance on health and protection, travel advice, as well as extensive myth-busting and technical guidance sections
Their 'Key planning recommendations for mass gatherings in the context of COVID-19' guidance can be accessed on this link.
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