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September 23, 2020

Sport essential factor in fight against Covid-19: Bach

Sports

September 23, 2020

ISLAMABAD: International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach in a message to all national Olympic committees has said that sport “now is widely recognized as an essential factor in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, which still persists in many countries”.

He said sport is also accepted as an integral part of the solution for the crisis recovery.

“Thankfully, we are also seeing live sports events taking place again. The very positive reception of these events clearly demonstrates that not only athletes and sports organisations but also the public at large have been longing for the return of sport as an integral part of our lives,” Bach said in his message.

“We also see that sport can be organised safely, even under the ongoing restrictions. This should give all of us confidence in our preparations for future events, including the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

“I would like to thank all the people who have brought us this far by working tirelessly to keep our societies going, and all of you in the sporting community who are working with great responsibility and creativity to organise sports events, safeguarding the health of all concerned.”

Bach hoped that based on this early success, the Olympic family is looking forward to the time when the many restrictions, which are essential now, can be eased. “But we have to continue to act in a responsible way when it comes to planning and scheduling our sports events. The virus is not defeated yet. We must continue to contribute to its containment and be a part of the solution for the recovery from the crisis.

“In our planning and scheduling, we all have a great responsibility, not only for our respective stakeholders but for the entire sports community. From experience, we know that every mishap that affects one of us affects all of us — and has the potential to undo the great progress we have made together in the past few months,” he said.

Bach said the IOC was monitoring the potential of innovative testing methods for the safe organisation of events. “In addition to the already existing test methods, there are a number of so-called rapid tests already on the market or under development. When used in combination with other virus countermeasures, such rapid tests give us an important additional tool to ensure a safe environment for everyone involved,” he added.

“Further to this good news with regard to testing, there are very encouraging signals from the scientific and medical community about the availability of approved vaccines in the next few months, maybe even before the end of this year.

“On the one hand, these recent weeks have shown that we can organise big sports events in a safe way even without a vaccine. On the other hand, we have to realize that even testing methods and vaccines are not the “silver bullet” that will solve all our problems. We just do not yet know the full impact of any potential vaccine. But, altogether, there are good reasons for cautious optimism.”

He said the IOC will continue to study these developments closely. “We are also evaluating what consequences they would have for the organisation of sports events, ranging from the need to change certain rules of our respective organisations to medical, economic, social and logistical aspects. To this end, we continue to cooperate closely with the World Health Organization, public authorities, medical and scientific experts, as well as pharmaceutical companies. We are also drawing from the experience of those sports organisations that have recently organised successful events,” the IOC president said.