ISLAMABAD: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has assured the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) that the Olympic body would arrange for doses of Covid-19 vaccine for the whole contingent competing in the upcoming international events including the Tokyo Olympics in case Pakistan government fails to provide in-time jabs to the participating athletes.
A well-placed source within the POA told ‘The News’ that the IOC was in touch with the national Olympic committees around the globe in an effort to make international competitions safer.
“The IOC has approached the POA ensuring that all the members of the contingent will be provided with the Covid-19 vaccine well before their departure for the international events including the Tokyo Olympics that starts from July 23, 2021,” the source said.
Summer Olympics will be followed by Paralympics starting from August 24, 2021, also in Japan. Apart from the two major events, Beijing (China) will also host the Winter Olympics in February 2022.
“This offer is only for all the international mega events to be held under the IOC’s banner. Provision of the vaccine is subject to its non-availability in the respective country. The IOC hopes that the campaign within each country would prefer vaccination of leading athletes especially those who are to compete in international events. In case, the respective governments fail to provide the required doses, the IOC would come forward and arrange for the vaccine.”
‘The News’ has learnt that the POA was already in touch with the Ministry for Inter-Provincial Association (IPC) regarding early vaccination of the athletes, support staff and those officials working within the POA and having direct interaction with athletes.
“The POA has furnished all the available details with the ministry regarding Pakistan’s participation in the international events in months to come. A few months back we had received a letter from the ministry. In the letter, the ministry asked for the total strength of the contingents meant for each of international mega events including the Winter Olympics for the vaccination purpose.
“According to the available data and possible participation of the athletes, we had sent the details and requested the ministry for early vaccination of the athletes. However, after so many months we are yet to receive any update regarding our request for vaccination. We are still waiting for the response from government but in case of no reply we would be moving the IOC for help.”
The POA official added that in-time vaccination of the athletes was more important as some of them were already planning to train abroad. “It is a must for players planning to train and compete in pre-Olympic events. In fact, timely vaccination would help them get the required exposure before start of these events.”