Local administrators hoping for safe Tokyo Games

July 23, 2021
 Nicole Grant-Brown
Nicole Grant-Brown
Martin Lyn
Martin Lyn
 Gymnast Danusia Francis
Gymnast Danusia Francis
Swimmer Alia Atkinson
Swimmer Alia Atkinson
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Arrive safely. Compete safely. Leave safely.

That is the mantra from Aquatic Sports Association of Jamaica president Martin Lyn and Jamaica Gymnastic Association president Nicole Grant-Brown as the Tokyo Olympics finally begins today after a one year delay and amid COVID-19 fears among athletes and officials in Japan.

The opening ceremony of the Games will be held today, officially kicking off the two-week festivities. However, Tokyo still continues to experience challenges in preserving the biosecure environment at the Athlete's Village. So far, 75 persons related to the Games have tested positive for the virus. Lyn said that the current situation will make the atmosphere different than in past Olympics and while excited that the Games are finally under way after the delay, he is still nervous because of the situation in Tokyo.

"We are apprehensive about the start of the Olympics," Lyn said. "Obviously, we want our athletes to stay safe. That's number one. And number two: we want our athletes to stay focused. It won't be as grand as the previous Games."

Some of the Jamaican contingent, which includes swimmers Alia Atkinson and Keanan Dols, diver Yona Knight-Wisdom, and Danusia Francis, have been in Tokyo for a few days while the track and field athletes arrived yesterday.

While still cautious about the evolving situation, Lyn says that he is confident that the authorities in Tokyo will do everything they can to mitigate any further complications.

"I am pretty sure from what I gather from athletes and officials that are currently in Japan that they seem to have most of the protocols. They seem to have most of everything under control, which is a good thing," Lyn said.

Grant-Brown says that because of the ongoing circumstances and concerns, the main focus for all the athletes will be the competition itself, with no time to fully enjoy the grandeur that the Games usually offers.

"This Olympics is definitely a bit different. Persons are more concerned about their health and just want to get it over with. So that there is less interaction (with persons) and so on. Whereas it relates to the whole hype around the Olympics, it's not fully there because we want to ensure that our athletes are healthy," Grant-Brown said. "Get the job done and just get out of there."

Lyn echoes the same sentiment given the additional adjustments, challenges, and sacrifices that the athletes had to make during the past year and is hoping that the virus does not derail their Olympic dreams.

"The athletes have been training for a long time for this, and they just want to get it over and done with as best as possible," Lyn said.

daniel.wheeler@gleanerjm.com

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