I.t it is not surprising sin The COVID-19 pandemic has overtaken this year’s Australian Open.
Organizers were taking on a major task in deciding to hold the Grand Slam against the backdrop of a global health crisis, especially in a country where coronavirus cases took place to a minimum due to strict travel restrictions.
Such restrictions meant that 72 players spent two weeks tied to the four walls of their hotel rooms before the competition began. These players had the misfortune of entering Australia on planes where advanced cases of COVID-19 were subsequently identified.
While players and competitors were allowed up to five hours on a tennis court each day, at the same time they had to take advantage hitting balls off the wall and finishing is five kilometers running in tiny spots.
Perhaps the promise to compete in front of crowds, so rare at these strange times, had been a source of encouragement to the quarantine players. Of course fans were allowed to watch the five opening days of matches at the Grand Slam, with the capacity limited to 30,000 spectators per day.
Seo there were soon under the influence of coronavirushowever. Snap locking was announced on Friday (February 12) in the state of Victoria, where Melbourne is situated, after the number of COVID-19 cases linked to the Holiday Inn hotel at Melbourne Airport rose to 13.
All 13 cases were found to be the more contagious variant in the United Kingdom and an immediate circuit breaker was considered to be the most effectiveway to prevent further behavior. As a result, the Australian Open will be played without spectators so far at least Thursday (February 18).
There have been a few other fears. Just days before the Grand Slam began, more than 500 players, officials and supporters had to produce negative coronavirus test results after being seen as a close associate of a hotel employee. had made a good proof. Fortunately for organizers, everyone took a negative test, but the event was a reminder of how precarious it was to hold a sporting event while COVID-19 is still in high demand.
Of course, the organizers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and Paralympics will be keeping a close eye on it. developments in Melbourne. Australian Tennis boss Craig Tiley recently confirmed he would share his experiences International Olympic Committee (IOC), but also gave the group a strong warning.
“I saw the playbook for the Olympics, and I looked at it carefully,” said Tiley. Reuters. “And compared to what we have done, we have a much tougher program than we are proposing at the Olympics.
“I love the Olympics. I.i would like to see success. But with the experience we’ve gained, I can’t see it working. “
This caveat is troubling when considering the difference in size of the Australian Open the support of the Olympics and the Paralympics. In total, 1,200 tennis players, officials and media traveled to Melbourne for the tennis competition. For Tokyo 2020, however, mmore than 11,000 athletes from 206 countries compete across the board 33 sports. The complexity of organizing the Games is gargantuan.
The idea that the Australian Open protocol was so harsh, but still experiencing so many hiccups, is worrying too. Tokyo 2020 is unlikely to go unnoticed if the COVID-19 protocol during the Games is weaker. If something goes wrong, it seems as if organizers have taken very little for change.
A two-week quarantine period was required for the Australian Open, which meant participants had to fly into Melbourne early to ensure they were ready to compete. Even though some players had to go into remote time on their own, they were able to play once the Grand Slam began.
Compare this to Tokyo 2020. As of right now, there will be athletes, officials and media no quarantine required when you arrive in Japan. In addition, athletes have been encouraged to spend so little time in Japan. If a competitor is positive for coronavirus or is considered a close associate of someone who does, they seem to have to self-divide and completely miss their event. As we have seen from the Australian Open, this is not an unlikely situation.
Of course, Tiley is on it urged Tokyo 2020 organizers to extend the duration of the Games to allow longer quarantine times, with athletes training in their own accommodation before competition levels for each event.
Quarantine time also looks crucial from a health and safety perspective. Health authorities in Melbourne have been able to eradicate COVID-19 incoming cases and prevent a revolution by enforcing a tight quarantine time.
It it must be remembered that the Olympics and the Paralympics son just sport events, and that people’s lives are more important. If there is a coronavirus outbreak in Japan that can be traced back to a competing athlete at Tokyo 2020, organizers are responsible for any subsequent deaths.
In fact, there is hope that before Tokyo 2020 comes around, worldwide coronavirus cases will have dropped dramatically and the pandemic will end.
Development of several COVID-19s vaccines have raised hopes of the Olympic and Paralympic Games which will take place safely in July, August and September. Many athletes traveling to Japan will be protected against coronavirus, which puts the organizers of Tokyo 2020 in a better position then their peers at the Australian Open.
Nevertheless, there are many lessons to be learned from preparing for and hosting the Australian Open. Tiley’s message seems to be that it’s better to be safe than sorry, and it will be interesting to see if the organizers of Tokyo 2020 pay attention to those words.