Thursday, July 15, 2021

8 hours at airport as Indian sailors land in Tokyo

New Delhi: A tedious bureaucratic process lasting hours, a Covid test and a ‘technology check’ — the first Indian team to touch down in Tokyo for the Olympics got a taste of what the new normal is like at the Games.

The six-member sailing team, comprising four sailors and two coaches, took a little more than eight hours to complete the entire process at Tokyo’s Haneda airport Tuesday before they could finally leave for their hotel.

It was unusually long, but not unexpected.

Following a meeting last week between Chef de Missions from all countries and the organising committee, Indian Olympic Association president Narinder Batra had warned the country’s 227-strong contingent to be prepared for delays. The contingent learnt that several countries had to wait up to four hours for the immigration process to start and then another three hours to board their dedicated transport.

“Sharing with all of you so that you are mentally prepared for what you may very likely expect at the airport until you reach the Village… these games are being held under extra ordinary circumstances and we should try to support Japan and go (through) everything with a smile,” Batra wrote in his message to the Indian team on July 10.

The sailing team did not check into the Athletes Village, which was thrown open on Tuesday, since they will be living in a separate accommodation closer to their venue.

As per an Associated Press report, Tokyo reported its highest tally in almost six months on Wednesday, seeing 1,149 new cases. The new high coincided with a courtesy call by International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach on Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

15/07/21 Mihir Vasavda/Indian Express

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