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SPORTS

Hosts okay alcohol use in athletes’ village but refuse to dispense out condoms

SPORTS
By Elvince Joshua | June 28th 2021

The latest pronouncement by Tokyo Olympics, the committee organising, came as a shock to the would-be partakers of the forbidden fruit.

So stringent are the rules that movement in the Olympic village will strictly be monitored by the Japanese government through GPS, as a means of maintaining safety during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Additionally, all athletes will have to undergo a mandatory Covid-19 test at least once every four days. Those who test positive will be barred from the competition.

Failure to comply with the rules will see media passes for journalists revoked while any violation of the rulebook by any athlete will lead to automatic disqualification.

Last week, a member of the Ugandan Olympic team was denied entry into Japan after he tested positive for the coronavirus upon arrival in Tokyo.

These are some of the precautionary measures being put in place by the organisers to caution athletes from the effect of the ravaging Covid-19 pandemic.

The new ‘condom embargo’ is a break from the Olympic tradition that encourages safe sex and the fight against sexually transmitted diseases like HIV/Aids. Condoms have been part of the Olympic culture since 1988. The rubber was first allowed in the Olympics during the Seoul, Korea Games.

In the last game, held in Rio, Brazil in 2016, for example, a total of 450,000 condoms were handed out while over 110,000 pieces were available for athletes who took part in the South Korea Games.

The latest move, though, could put the lives of participants at risk due to the fact that it might be humanly impossible to control the conduct of intoxicated athletes, some, who have been out of touch with the rest of the world for the last three months.

The 14 Malkia Strikers - the national women’s volleyball team players have been in a bubble camp since April.

“These are serious health hazards. These are adults and we all know what people are capable of doing when they are drunk,” said Wacu.

One of the 40 track and field athletes who spoke to The Nairobian termed the move as “irresponsible”, adding that it is a bad idea to allow alcohol in the rooms but deny athletes the much-needed protection.

“We all know that people tend to misbehave after taking alcohol. So when you allow athletes the privilege of taking alcohol, you are basically telling them that it is okay to indulge in unprotected sex.

“This is so irresponsible of the organiser. Either they allow people to have condoms or they take both alcohol and condoms out of the village,” added the player who will be making his second appearance at the Summer Games.

“Of what use will be a condom on your way to the airport?

“It does not make sense that we are fighting one disease (Covid-19) but promoting the other (STI). Can you imagine someone going back while carrying the pregnancy or diseases when you had the chance to save yourself?” posed the athlete who spoke on condition on anonymity.

Malkia Strikers alongside the two rugby teams - Shujaa and Lionesses - will depart the country on July 6 for a two-week camp in Kurume City, but just like the rest of the participants will be subjected to mandatory quarantine upon arrival in Japan.  

Tokyo, which has been under a state of emergency since late April, shifted to a quasi-state of emergency on Monday until July 11, though The Nairobian could not confirm if Kurume will also be under lockdown by the time the first batch of Team Kenya arrives in Japan.

Under a quasi-state of emergency, (Japanese) governors are allowed to impose lockdown measures in specific areas rather than entire prefectures.

There is still a heated debate whether fans should be allowed the National Stadium. Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has expressed his intent to have spectators in sports games, as long as they do not exceed 50 percent of venue capacity. Organisers, meanwhile, are advocating for 20,000 fans.

These figures, though, are being contested by a team of medical experts who have been against the move to allow spectators at venues

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