10 Feb 2021

The Games will go ahead and must go ahead in the safest manner possible; it is the unequivocal message from Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee.

By Ian Marshall

In video conferences with National Olympic Committees (NOC) and International Federations (IF) at the end of January, Dr Bach advised that National Olympic Committees should approach their governments and, respecting the priority for the risk groups, investigate the available options for vaccination, as one more of the measures of the “toolbox of Covid-19 countermeasures”.

Acutely aware of the situation, Prof Miran Kondric, Chair of the ITTF Sports Science and Medical Committee, working alongside Dr Shiro Matsuo, responsible for Anti-Doping and a member of the JTTA Sports Science and Medicine Committee, are closely monitoring the situation.

“Covid-19 is caused by a new coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. According to the World Health Organisation, some people who have had Covid-19, whether they have needed hospitalization or not, continue to experience symptoms, including fatigue, respiratory and neurological symptoms. Scientists and medical doctors around the world are working to find and develop treatments for Covid-19.“ Prof Miran Kondric

Notably, and stressed by Prof Miran Kondric, is the fact that the World Health Organisation does not recommend self-medication, including antibiotics, as a prevention or cure for Covid-19. Antibiotics do not work against viruses! They only work on bacterial infections!

“There are currently some Covid-19 vaccines for which certain national regulatory authorities have authorized the use with efficacy of over 90 per cent and with very low rates of side effects reported during clinical trials. The World Health Organisation reported that there are currently more than 50 Covid-19 vaccine candidates on trial. Now that effective vaccines for Covid-19 have been developed and are being distributed worldwide, it is key for people to understand the benefits of the Covid-19 vaccines.” Prof Miran Kondric

Covid-19 vaccines have been evaluated and approved; the vaccines significantly reduce the probability of contracting the virus.

“We must be aware that the Covid-19 vaccination is an important tool to help stop the pandemic. Since procedure of vaccination in different countries will probably take little bit longer, please stay safe by taking some simple precautions, such as physical distancing, wearing a mask, keeping rooms well ventilated, avoiding crowds, cleaning your hands, and coughing into a bent elbow or tissue. Please do not forget to check local advice where you live and work.” Prof Miran Kondric

An emphatic Prof Miran Kondric and of course he is correct, he is very correct; it is now over a year since the virus was first identified, there is no room for complacency.

Unquestionably, Covid-19 is the greatest health crisis in the modern era. According to the World Health Organisation statement issued on Monday 1st February, worldwide more than 102,500,000 cases have been confirmed; a devastating effect being 2,200,000 have lost their lives.

“The first priority of Olympic Games and Paralympic Games organizers is to protect competitors, officials, organizers and spectators in best possible way. A decision not to vaccinate, for whatever reason, poses a risk to others. If enough people are vaccinated, it stops the disease from spreading through a population, something experts call herd immunity”. Prof Miran Kondric

Epidemiological measures to control the virus and thus reduce the spread have been introduced; nevertheless, the impact on our daily lives continues, social and family gatherings being curtailed or cancelled.

Most significantly, sporting activities, both national and international have suffered the same outcome; in fact, on several occasions there have been two steps, postponed then cancelled.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games has experienced the first step, now the task is to avoid the second.

General News Sports Science