Athletes from Palau are continuing preparations for the Tokyo Olympics set on July 2021, according to Palau National Olympic Committee Secretary Baklai Temengil.

Ms. Temengil said one swimmer and one sprinter will be competing in the Olympics, with two others wrestlers who are still trying to qualify for the games, are expected to be part of Palau’s delegation to Japan.

The athletes will be accompanied by their coaches and a small contingent from PNOC. Ms. Temengil is also joining the team bound for Tokyo.

Ms. Temengil said the team going to the Olympics are all fully vaccinated. 

“Understandably with the pandemic and the restrictions, Palau is very fortunate that we have worked with the Ministry of Health and the whole team Palau and the athletes and officials who are planning to go to Tokyo already got their vaccines,” she said in an interview.

She also said that PNOC is also working with MOH for the travel arrangements of the team. PNOC is also coordinating with Olympic Committee in Fiji and the Australian government in regards to safety protocols. 

‘As of now Tokyo Olympics is going to happen, Temengil added. 

She said the International Olympic Committee (IOC)  released an  Olympics Playbook for athletes which state rules on the conduct of the games during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 Some of the rules in the playbook require that participants pass two COVID-19 tests before leaving their home country and be tested upon arrival in Japan. Athletes will be tested daily, other participants will also be  tested daily for the first three days, and then as required.

Athletes will be dining in the Athletes Village, which will be an isolated “bubble.”Game participants do not need a  14-day quarantine rule for entering Japan, but they must fill out a schedule listing their plans for that period and download a tracking app, the playbook further stated. 

Temengil said the Tokyo Olympics is an opportunity for Palau and other athletes in Oceania to take part in important sporting events. 

“Given the situation, all the national Olympic committee and the IOC have agreed that we must participate and provide opportunities for the athletes to take their place in the Olympics Games., but we are also mindful of the restrictions and we have to trust the organizing committee in Olympics that they have taken their responsibility to ensure the safety of our athletes and our coaches,” Temengil said.

 According to an Associated Press, there is a petition from people in Japan calling for the cancellation of the Olympics amid the surging coronavirus cases. 

Only 1 percent of the Japanese population are fully vaccinated and the country under a state of emergency until the end of the month.

Despite the rising cases and criticism from the public, Japanese officials have said it is safe for athletes to compete in the games and are ramping up preparations to receive athletes from all over the world. 

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