Sports

Tokyo Olympics: National athletes begin to feel the heat


Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina is pictured with Malaysian athletes after the launch of the 100 Days to Tokyo ceremony launch at the National Sports Council in Kuala Lumpur, April 14, 2021. — Bernama pic
Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina is pictured with Malaysian athletes after the launch of the 100 Days to Tokyo ceremony launch at the National Sports Council in Kuala Lumpur, April 14, 2021. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, July 18 — The national athletes are beginning to feel the Tokyo Olympic Games atmosphere now that they have set foot at the Games Village in Tokyo today.

However, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has provided the national athletes with a different kind of experience compared to previous editions, with all of them having to comply with strict standard operating procedures (SOP) from the moment they touched down at the Narita International Airport at about 8 am today.

National diver Nur Dhabitah Sabri, 22, said that the moment they arrived at the airport, they had to fill up various forms and undergo Covid-19 screening through saliva tests before boarding the bus to the Games Village.

“I am happy and, at the same time, tired probably because it’s been a long time since I flew on a plane. The tiredness could also be due to the number of procedures in Japan where there are lots of paperwork to be done. So, we walked a lot there (at the airport), from one station to another.

“In the bus, on our way to the Games Village, many of us fell asleep due to fatigue. We arrived at the airport around 7 am (local time) and reached the Games Village at noon (local time),” she told Bernama today.

Yesterday, a total of 40 individuals, including 18 athletes from swimming, diving, badminton, gymnastics and archery, left for Tokyo from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) for the world’s biggest multi-sports Games, which will be held from July 23-Aug 8.

That was the biggest batch to depart for Tokyo after four sailors, who were accompanied by three officials, left for Tokyo on July 8. The third batch, comprising athletes from track cycling, athletics and golf, is expected to leave on July 25.

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Meanwhile, Nur Dhabitah said they would now undergo three days of isolation, apart from undergoing Covid-19 screening tests before they will be allowed to move “freely” and interact with athletes from other countries in the Games Village.

“Under the quarantine process here, we are still allowed to leave our rooms to go for our meals and so on, it’s just that we are separated from other athletes who arrived much earlier. The new arrivals will have to eat on a separate floor,” she explained.

Meanwhile, based on the posts shared by some of the national athletes on social media, it is clearly evident that they are all thrilled to bits to finally be at the Games Village.

Among those who uploaded videos to be shared with their fans back home including shuttlers Lee Zii Jia and Goh Liu Ying, who are also the flag bearers, Farah Ann Abdul Hadi (gymnastic) and Pandelela Rinong Pamg (diving).

They shared clips of the interior designs and bedroom decorations, with the one that stole the show being their beds which were made from recyclable cardboard, besides showing off the stunning views from their bedrooms. — Bernama



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