There are 100 days left until the opening of the Tokyo Paralympics.
Amid growing concerns about the Games being held due to the spread of the new coronavirus infection, the Games Organizing Committee and others are being asked to carefully explain the impact on the medical system and measures to ensure safety, and to gain the understanding of the people. ..
4400 athletes from up to 180 countries / regions
The Tokyo Paralympics, which will start on August 24th, will be attended by a maximum of 4,400 athletes from approximately 180 countries and regions. More than 80 athletes have been nominated as representatives in Japan, and approximately 7 athletes worldwide. The quota is fixed.
Some athletes aiming for the Paralympics are at high risk of infection or aggravation of the new coronavirus due to disabilities and underlying diseases, and preparations for infection control are being carried out more carefully.
Under these circumstances, since last month, test competitions have been held at the same venue as the actual competition in three competitions: wheelchair rugby, swimming, and athletics, and infection countermeasures have been confirmed.
Confirmation of infection control at test competition
This month, 117 athletes and about 1000 referees and volunteers participated in the track and field test tournament held at the National Stadium.
Athletes had to complete the PCR test in advance, and on the day of the event, they had to disinfect their hands and fingers and measure the temperature before entering the venue. In addition, they were required to keep a distance of 2 meters or more and wear a mask except for competitions.
In addition, disinfectants and disinfectant sheets were placed at the athletes' meeting place, and equipment essential for the Paralympics, such as wheelchairs for competitions and artificial limbs, was thoroughly disinfected.
To prevent visually impaired athletes from unnoticed contact with people, keep a distance of 3 meters or more from the front and rear athletes when entering and exiting, and some wheelchair athletes compete with masks on. ..
In a post-match interview with the players, a rope was stretched to keep a distance of at least 2 meters from the press.
Tomoya Ito, a wheelchair player who is at risk of becoming severe due to an intractable immune disease, said, "I was able to feel reassured because the PCR test was thorough. I want the tournament to be safer and more secure. "
Complex thoughts of informal players
Some of the athletes who have been nominated to represent the Tokyo Paralympics have mixed feelings about the growing concern about the event due to the spread of the new coronavirus infection.
Atsushi Yamamoto (39), a silver medalist at the Rio de Janeiro Paralympics who has been appointed as the representative of the Tokyo Paralympics in the men's long jump prosthesis class, said, "The players do not have the right to decide whether to hold or not, but in the current situation It is my feeling that it is tough, "he said, and he acknowledged that it would be difficult to hold the tournament unless the public's anxiety was wiped out.
Yamamoto, a leading para-athletics player, has positioned the Tokyo Games as the last Paralympic Games.
This month, I experienced the infection control that holds the key to the event at the same test tournament held at the national stadium as the actual event. I think it was. However, it is difficult to draw a line as to how far it can be made. "
On top of that, regarding the current situation in which athletes who have been nominated as representatives of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics are being asked to decline participation, "I can only say that if I come to me, I can do nothing to complain about the event. As a player, I will do my best to train for the upcoming Games, which is the only one. ”He said, and asked for the understanding of the players who are in a difficult position.
"I don't want to give up hope until the end."
Maya Nakanishi (35), who has been appointed as the representative of the Tokyo Paralympics in the track and field women's long jump artificial limbs class, said, "There is no player who wants to play an active part even at the risk of human life. I want to face it. "
Nakanishi, who won the world championship for the first time, has postponed the Paralympic Games, which was supposed to be the world queen last year, and has to leave Oita, where his parents' house is, and move his practice base to Osaka in order to protect his elderly family from the new coronavirus. I can't get it anymore.
Although the stadium became unusable due to the state of emergency, I thought that running on the unstable ground of the park would improve the sense of balance of the artificial limbs, which led to my own evolution such as updating my personal best.
Based on such experience, Nakanishi said, "There is no player who wants to play an active part at the risk of human life. However, I can not blame you for thinking and devising a way to hold it, knowing that it is difficult. I don't want to give up hope until then. "
On top of that, regarding the various opinions received from the players, "It is difficult and anxious to fight the invisible virus so much that I do not know what to believe. Now it is aimed at athletes. I think it's basically a word that comes from anxiety. If it's one of the ways to deal with the corona wreckage, I'd like to have that voice and look forward. "
Thoughts as a player and as a doctor
A top Spanish player who is aiming for the Tokyo Paralympics while taking measures against corona as a doctor said, "Isn't it possible to see the tournament as an investment to spread hope and equality to people rather than robbing medical resources? In Tokyo, the tournament is safe. I trust that it will be held in Spain. "
Spain's Susana Rodriguez (33), who is ranked number one in the world for women's triathlon and the visually impaired, is a top player and doctor who is almost certain to participate in the Tokyo Paralympics.
Rodriguez has almost no eyesight since he was born, but as a triathlete, he has been involved in competitions with a companion called a "guide" and has won many international competitions such as winning the international competition held in Yokohama. I have come.
However, at the last Rio de Janeiro Paralympics, he missed the podium with 5th place and has been practicing to win the gold medal at the Tokyo Paralympics.
Rodriguez said to the Tokyo Paralympics, "I feel confident and joyful now. For me and other athletes, 100 days before the tournament is 100 days before hope," he said, waiting for the opening.
On the other hand, as a doctor, I was in charge of diagnosing and investigating patients at the forefront of medical practice during the period of the first wave of the new coronavirus that hit Spain last year. Since then, he has been supporting the rehabilitation of corona patients as the first visually impaired doctor in Spain.
As a doctor, about holding the tournament in the Corona Whirlpool, Rodriguez said, "It's very difficult, and I think it's natural for Japanese people to feel scared and have their own thoughts." I showed my understanding to hold.
On top of that, he said that there are concerns about the impact on the medical system in Japan due to the holding of the Games. Can't you think of it as an investment to promote equality and equality? A big challenge will surely produce a winner. If there is a country that can show the winner to the world with the Paralympic Games, I think it is Japan. " Said his theory.
"I trust that the tournament will be held safely in Tokyo. Even if it looks different from what I expected, there is no doubt that it will be a wonderful tournament," he said. Showed expectations.