Australian team to minimise use of gym, dining hall at Tokyo Olympics

The Australian delegation to the Tokyo will refrain from using the gym in the Olympic Village and will spend as little time as possible in the dining hall.

David Hughes, the team’s chief officer, said on Wednesday that this was to avoid infections.

As the Tokyo approaches, the lingering pandemic has posed a threat to athletes.

When asked about this by Xinhua at a virtual press conference, Hughes listed four key areas that might be of high risk for the Australian team.

He named the airport, the dining hall, the village gymnasium, and transportation during the Games.

Hughes added that he expected delays at the airport.

“It’s a busy place even without COVID,” he said. “It’s a big job for any nation to have people flying in from all over the world, and get them through all the processes that need to take place.”

For the Australian delegation, the biggest day of arrivals in Tokyo will be July 17, when 284 team members land.

Hughes said he hoped they would pass through quickly, and noted some other key risks in the Olympic village.

He noted that the gym would be a high-risk environment “because people are exercising indoors.

“Certainly the Australian team is going to try and avoid the village gymnasium as much as possible,” he said.

The team has set up their own gym in the basement of the Australian team headquarters.

“That gives our athletes an option that doesn’t involve going to the village gymnasium.”

Another area of risk would be the dining hall, where Hughes hoped that people could “grab and go”, spending as little time as possible inside.

In the Australian team headquarters, an area has been allocated for athletes to take food, which Hughes said would “lessen their requirement for use of the dining hall.”

Finally, athletes will be given masks of hospital grade, which they will wear on the Games transport from the village to training and competition venues.

“My understanding is that there’s going to be ventilation on the Games transport, so that certainly lessens the risk,” he said.

After being postponed for one year, the Tokyo will open on July 23.

The Australian Olympic Committee has announced a team of 472 athletes to compete in Tokyo, including 254 women and 218 men.

It is the second largest delegation that Australia has sent to an overseas Olympics.(dpa/)

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