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IOC releases COVID-19 regulations for Tokyo Olympics

Source: PTI
July 11, 2021 21:35 IST
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IOC's Tokyo Games's Sports Specific Regulations

The International Olympic Committee along with the International Federations, on Sunday, developed regulations for different events at the Tokyo Olympics.

The Games' Sport-Specific Regulations (SSR) has been developed jointly by IOC and the IFs to determine the impact of a confirmed positive COVID-19 case and its management in competition formats and structures.

The IOC developed the SSR as a contingency measure that will be put in motion in case a confirmed COVID case is reported in any sport so as to ensure a smooth conduct of events.

The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to be held from July 23 to August 8 under extraordinary circumstances owing to the raging COVID-19 pandemic.

The Games were turned into a 'TV-only event' after the Japanese government barred spectators inside venues following imposition of emergency to control the spread of the deadly virus.

ATHLETICS

COVID-19 positives to be replaced by next best-placed competitor in Olympics athletics event

Track and field athletes who are unable to feature in a particular phase of competition after testing positive for COVID-19 during the Tokyo Olympics will be replaced by the next-best placed competitor from the previous round, according to the Sport-Specific Regulations (SSR) announced on Sunday.

The regulations developed by the International Olympic Committee and the international federations said the athletes unable to compete due to COVID-19 reasons will not be disqualified and will be marked as DNS (Did Not Start).

"As track and field events are held over multiple days, in case of an athlete being unable to compete because of a positive COVID-19 case, in track events the best next-best placed athletes from the previous round will be brought forward to replace that athlete in the next phase," the regulations said.

"For the field events where possible athletes unable to compete in the final will be replaced with the next best placed athlete."

These rules will, however, not be applied in 10,000m race, marathon and race walk events which are either direct final events or single races. In these cases, the races will happen with one athlete less.

"The exception is for the 10,000m which is a direct final and takes place as a single race and therefore the results of the daily COVID-19 test will determine if an athlete can start, otherwise the event will go ahead with one less athlete

"The minimum level of results of the athlete with a positive COVID-19 test will be recognised."

The SSRs are contingency plans that will be activated in case a confirmed case appears so that all stakeholders are ready to implement these and not impact the athletes or delay the competition.

"The implementation is subject to the individual circumstances of each situation and in particular the timing at which the COVID-19 cases are confirmed relative to the start of the respective competition impacted, as well as the applicable International Federation's rules and regulations."

India has named a 26-member athletics team for the Olympics which opens on July 23.

The athletics competition will be held from July 30 to August 8.

Avinash Sable (men's 3000m steeplechase round 1), Dutee Chand (women's 100m round 1) and men's 4x400m relay (round 1) will feature on the first day of athletics competition.

HOCKEY

No bronze medal match in hockey if one finalist forced out due to COVID

The losing semifinalists in hockey might get a shot at Olympic gold in the Tokyo Games if one of the finalist teams is forced out because of COVID-19 as the afflicted side's last-four stage opponent would be elevated to the summit clash.

"In Hockey, teams unable to compete due to COVID-19 will not be disqualified and will be marked as DNS (Did Not Start). In case a team in the knockout stages is no longer able to compete due to COVID-19 their minimum ranking achieved will be protected and, if time allows, their opponent will advance to the next round.

"Therefore, if a team is unable to participate in the final, the team that was eliminated by the COVID-19 impacted team will be brought into the final to compete for the medal on the field of play.

"The other losing semi-finalist will be awarded the bronze medal," the regulations developed for hockey read.

The regulations, however, did not say what could be the possible scenario if both finalist teams end up being affected by the virus. It also did not specify what happens in case COVID-19 ends up affecting even the losing semifinalists.

India is competing in both the men's and women's hockey competitions.

Last month, the IOC Executive Board had underlined the three main principles to provide consistency across sports where possible while developing the guidelines.

The principles taken into consideration by the IOC were "No athlete or team should be designated as 'disqualified' for COVID-19 reasons, instead 'Did Not Start (DNS)' or an equivalent sport-specific designation will be used where the athletes or team cannot take part in competition."

"The minimum result of the athlete/team will be protected, considering the phase of competition at which they could not compete.

"(And) where possible the place of an athlete or team unable to compete will be filled by the next most eligible athlete or team..."

SHOOTING

Countries can replace COVID-infected athlete in mixed team shooting events

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has approved replacement in the mixed team shooting events of the upcoming Tokyo Games if an athlete from a participating nation tests positive for COVID-19 just before the competition.

However, the same leeway has not been granted to the individual events in shooting, which will see 356 athletes from as many as 100 countries competing for glory in Tokyo, with the women's 10m air rifle and 10m air pistol events drawing maximum participants.

"For the mixed team event, in case an athlete can no longer take part in the event, but the NOC (National Olympic Committee) has another athlete on site, the NOC can replace an athlete team member," the IOC's Tokyo 2020 Sport-Specific Regulations (SSR) stated.

The newly introduced mixed team events in shooting has bolstered an already strong Indian team's chances of medals at the Games.

The sensational pair of Saurabh Chaudhary and Manu Bhaker will take aim for India in the mixed team air pistol event in Tokyo, with Yashaswini Singh Deswal and Abhishek Verma forming the other combination.

In the mixed team air rifle event, India will be represented by the duo of Divyansh Singh Panwar and Elavenil Valarivan, and they will have the combo of Deepak Kumar and Anjum Moudgil as the other team.

If one of these shooters contracts the dreaded virus before their events, the Indian contingent as well as the others will have the option of substituting the athlete, provided they have a replacement in place from the individual pistol or rifle events.

However, shooters not able to compete due to a COVID positive case in the individual events will be marked as 'Did Not Start' (DNS).

"In shooting, if an athlete/team is not able to compete due to COVID-19, they will not be disqualified and will be marked as DNS. There will be no change to the competition format or groupings.

"The events take place over one day with the exception of the shotgun events. However, all athletes compete on both days and therefore the results of the daily COVID-19 test will determine if an athlete can start otherwise the event will go ahead with one athlete less," the IOC said.

As far as shooting is concerned, the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), while selecting the Olympic squad in April, had named two reserves for each individual event, considering the uncertain global scenario with the pandemic. No reserve squad was kept in place for the mixed events.

These were decided upon on the basis of the IOC guidelines.

"The reserves in individuals events can only be included in the team until the departure for Tokyo. Once you are there, there will be no such scope," an NRAI official said.

TENNIS

As of now India is set to field a women's doubles team of Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina in the tennis competition of the Games.

As per the regulations for tennis, the IOC clarified that,"athletes unable to start the competition due to COVID-19 will not be disqualified and will be marked as DNS."

"In case the athlete has started the competition and can no longer compete due to COVID-19 will be marked as W/O (walkover). The opponent will receive a bye and the minimum result of the athlete is protected."

The men's doubles team of Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan has missed the cut and were fifth alternate team till recently to enter the field in case of withdrawals.

No singles player has made the cut.

WRESTLING

Losing semifinalist to get shot at gold medal if finalist contracts COVID-19

If a wrestler contracts COVID-19 infection ahead of his title clash during the Tokyo Olympics, the losing semi-finalist will get a shot at gold medal, according to the regulations published for the Games by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

However, there was no clarity as to what will happen to the finalist, who was at least assured of a silver medal.

The wrestling competition in 18 weight categories -- six each in freestyle, women and greco-roman -- will begin from August 1.          

India will field seven wrestlers, including four women.

"In Wrestling, if an athlete is not able to compete due to COVID-19, the athlete will not be disqualified and will be marked as 'DNS' (Did Not Start). The opponent receives a bye into the next round," the regulations stated.

"In case the athlete has reached the final and is no longer able to compete due to COVID-19 the athlete eliminated in the respective semi-final will fill the vacant place and compete in the final," it added.

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