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One by one, some of the world’s largest sailing events are being canceled as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to cause chaos across the globe. The 53rd French Olympic Week, that was due to take place from April 3 to April 30 in Hyères, France, was canceled. Health authorities in Japan are not giving permission for the event to occur due to the situation with the pandemic in the south of France. This came after Spain provisionally moved the Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia (SOF) from March to October.
SOF was set to be the final big sailing meet before the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and the French Olympic Week was where the ten classes meant to compete at the Games were to be brought together. The event was also meant to host four new sailing disciplines.
Cancellations and the Games
As Olympic campaigners are faced with one cancelation after the next, it’s left them in the dark on how to resume training or even whether they should bother. Currently, there is no certainty that the Games will even take place. Originally scheduled to be held from July 24 until August 9, 2020, the revised dates are currently July 23 to August 8, 2021. However, Japan’s current situation is not shedding any light on how the situation may evolve or if the Games will take place as scheduled.
Japanese Borders Remain Closed to Foreign Athletes
Health regulations in Japan remain in place, preventing foreign athletes from entering the country to train. Despite a drop in Covid-19 cases, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike expressed caution over lowering restrictions in the capital. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga stated that he believes the most recent extension on the state of emergency will be the final extension.
What This Means for Sailors
According to reports, the government initially stated that it might give athletes exemptions to enter the country as soon as the strict measures are lifted. This will allow sailors to enter Japan to train before the Tokyo Olympic Games and to participate in qualification events.
Furthermore, sailors and other athletes would not be required to quarantine for two weeks when they arrive. They would, however, be restricted to training venues and the hotels they reside in during their visit. It is unclear whether these exemptions will still be made for athletes in light of the extension of the state of emergency.
Historically, Japan has been the venue for the Sailing World Cup Series from 2017 until recently. While this had previously allowed athletes to familiarize themselves with the waters in which they would compete at the Games, recent restrictions have been hindering training opportunities.