Indian residents in Tokyo divided over strict Covid-19 regulations imposed on Indian Olympic contingent

Few more weeks to go for the Olympics 2021 to begin but the Games have already been through several controversies from whether it should be held during these difficult times when the world is fighting the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. We have seen protests raging across Japan against the 2020 Games.

The other debate that is gaining momentum is against the stricter regulations that have been put in place against the athletes and officials travelling to Tokyo from 11 countries including India, Afghanistan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Countries like Bangladesh, Egypt, Malaysia, United Kingdom and Vietnam will also have to follow a set of special restrictions specified by the host country.

The Japanese government asked its delegates and athletes coming in from these 11 countries to undergo daily COVID-19 tests for a week prior to their departure and not interact with anyone from any other country for three days on arrival, protocols that have left the IOA fuming.

Stricter regulations have been put in place for all travellers — including athletes, coaches and support staff — who have resided in 11 countries, including India, where different variants of COVID-19 have been identified, within 14 days of their arrival in Tokyo. India’s COVID tally saw a clear dip in the number of infections in June after the catastrophic 2nd wave that saw over 3 lakh cases in a day.

The Indian Olympic Association has also criticised these rules as “unfair and discriminatory”. It has been a long wait for the Indian diaspora in Japan who have been waiting to welcome and cheer the Indian athletes coming to Tokyo for the Olympics 2020.

A part of the Indian diaspora has also expressed their disappointment against the strict rules that have been imposed on the Indian athletes and officials. Some even fear that this might lead to other sorts of discrimination against within the societies, schools and offices.

An Indian citizen Anurag, a resident of Japan’s Nishi Kasai area also known as the Little India of Tokyo told India Today, “Stricter regulations on Indian contingent may affect their confidence levels. Also, not being able to practice for 3 days before the Games may jolt their performances.”

On the other hand, the other half of the Indian diaspora, who think the regulations that have been imposed are justified and are just to control the spread of the new and more contagious variants in the country are also getting ready to Welcome and cheer for the Indian athletes travelling to Japan this month.

Some Indian residents in Japan feel the regulations that have been imposed are justified (Picture Credit: Paulomi Barman/India Today)

“The rules that are laid down are for the greater good. The virulent variation of COVID in our country right now is taking lives. It is a matter of life and death and we should be very cautious of this. Guests in a house have to follow the rules of the house. Stay safe and I would like to wish India all the best for the Olympics.” said Jasbir, a resident of Nishi Kasai, Tokyo.

The countdown for the Tokyo Olympics has already begun. So far, with 28 medals in 31 editions of the summer Games, the Indian contingent has set the expectations high for all Indians living across the globe. As the excitement rises, Indians are once again weaving big dreams and expectations around our athletes who are raring to raise our flag at the world’s greatest sporting event. 86 Indian athletes, including two teams, have so far qualified for the Tokyo Olympics. India is looking forward to sending over 111 athletes as part of the contingent.

India Today

India Today is a weekly Indian English-language news magazine published by Living Media India Limited. It is the most widely circulated magazine in India, with a readership of close to 8 million. In 2014, India Today launched a new online opinion-orientated site called the DailyO.

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