Olympic travel a big challenge for some Pacific Island teams

Current 8 several hours, 39 minutes ago

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Famed athletes in sports like tennis and golf heading to the Tokyo Olympics will likely arrive in Japan at the entrance of the aircraft.

It’s a model to which the athletes of the Pacific Islands are unaccustomed. Fiji’s gold medal-winning men’s rugby sevens group will get there in Tokyo alongside with the other customers of their nationwide staff on Thursday on a cargo/freight flight which is hauling typically frozen fish.

Commercial passenger flights to and from Pacific nations have come to be scarce through the pandemic. Lorraine Mar, the main govt of the Fiji Association of Sports activities and National Olympic Committee, claimed Wednesday that arranging journey for the Fiji team to Tokyo has been a “logistical challenge.”

Mar claimed close to 51 athletes and officers, largely the Fiji men’s and women’s sevens squad, will be on Thursday’s flight from Fiji’s principal international airport at Nadi. It is really a consistently-scheduled freight flight which has some capability for travellers.

The sevens teams a short while ago have been centered in Australia the place the Fiji adult males gained the Oceania Sevens title in Townsville, Queensland two months back. The men’s team gave Fiji its very first-at any time Olympic gold medal when it received the inaugural Olympic rugby sevens tournament in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

The Fiji teams ended up at first predicted to fly immediately from Australia to Tokyo, but plans were improved at the last minute due to new COVID-19-associated limits in Asia.

Aside from the sevens teams, the Fiji workforce involves just one track and area athlete, two swimmers, a feminine table tennis participant and a judo competitor who presently is based in Japan.

Mar explained dealing with athletes’ departures from Japan also is a problem. The IOC calls for athletes to vacate the Olympic village in 48 hrs of the conclusion of their activities.

Fiji has a flight booked from Tokyo to Nadi on July 29, following the sevens tournament has concluded and which could also have other athletes who have been eliminated or have finished competing. One more flight is booked on Aug. 10.

Mar hopes the IOC will grant dispensation for athletes who are unable to instantly receive flights residence to stay in the village till travel is offered.

Among the other Pacific Island nations, Samoa has by now withdrawn its 3-member weightlifting from the games due to the fact all are centered in Samoa and the Samoa govt is worried about the unfold of COVID-19 in Japan. 8 Samoan athletes who are centered abroad will still compete.

They comprise two boxers dependent in Australia, four sailors and canoeists centered in New Zealand, a keep track of athlete based mostly in the United States and a judoka centered in Japan.

Tonga will ship 6 competitors, all but two of whom are based mostly abroad. They involve Pita Taufatofua — the “naked Tongan” — who was a bare-chested feeling when he carried the Tongan flag in the opening ceremony of the Rio video games.

Taufatofua, who will compete in taekwondo in Tokyo, also represented Tonga in cross-place skiing at the 2018 Winter season Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

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Much more AP sporting activities: https://apnews.com/apf-sporting activities and https://twitter.com/AP_Athletics

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