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Prioritise athlete coronavirus vaccinations so Olympics can go ahead, says Games official

Athletes should be prioritised for coronavirus vaccines so that the Toky Games can definitely go ahead, according to the longest-serving member of the International Olympic Committee, Dick Pound.

With the coronavirus pandemic already causing the cancellation of some sporting events in 2021, such as the Tour Down Under, Pound says he is confident the Olympics will still go ahead this July as long as athletes receive a coronavirus jab before arriving in Japan.

“In Canada where we might have 300 or 400 hundred athletes – to take 300 or 400 vaccines out of several million in order to have Canada represented at an international event of this stature, character and level – I don’t think there would be any kind of a public outcry about that,” Pound told Sky News.

“It’s a decision for each country to make and there will be people saying they are jumping the queue but I think that is the most realistic way of it going ahead.”

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Sky News also reports that the British Olympic Association is in talks with the Government to secure its athletes coronavirus vaccines before July to ensure they can participate, although they insist any deal would not be made at the expense of vulnerable and elderly people not receiving their vaccine.

Japan, as has been the case with many other nations, has experienced a spike in coronavirus cases in recent weeks, with a new state of emergency potentially being brought in later this week.

The Tokyo Games have re-iterated that athletes will not have to quarantine in order to compete this summer, with strict rules instead planned to ensure safety.

Plans are reported to include athletes not being permitted to arrive in Tokyo more than five days prior to their event and to leave within 48 hours after it finishes, in order to reduce the number of people present.

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