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Russian Olympic chief alarmed over vaccination timeframe ahead of Tokyo Olympics

The 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Japan’s capital of Tokyo will be held this year between July 23 and August 8
Russian Olympic Committee President Stanislav Pozdnyakov Sergei Bobylev/TASS
Russian Olympic Committee President Stanislav Pozdnyakov
© Sergei Bobylev/TASS

MOSCOW, July 6. /TASS/. With less than a month before the kick-off of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, not all of the Russian Olympic contenders will have the time to get anti-COVID-19 jabs, Stanislav Pozdnyakov, president of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), told journalists on Tuesday.

"We have stepped up the vaccination process in recent months," Pozdnyakov said. "Unfortunately, not all of our athletes took our warnings seriously about a possible surge [of the pandemic] in June. Now, not all of them have the time to get a dose of the vaccine before heading off to the Games."

"Our vanguard is already there [in Tokyo] and has informed us about the strict measures regarding personal movement," the ROC chief continued. "Almost all of the safety measures are already in place and all surveillance cameras are operating."

"Any person leaving the territory of the so-called ‘bubble’ is immediately approached by a special service staff requesting that he or she return back to the original premises," he noted. "I want to call on everyone and all athletes to follow all of the previously issued directives."

On June 29, Pozdnyakov announced that the ROC approved an extended roster of 335 athletes to the Russian national team for the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Japan’s capital of Tokyo will be held this year between July 23 and August 8. In March 2020, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to postpone the 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in Japan for one year due to the spread of COVID-19.

As of today, Japan is ranked 34th globally in terms of reported COVID-19 cases, which currently stand at over 807,950. A total of over 14,860 people have died of the novel coronavirus infection there, while more than 776,646 have recovered from the illness.

Earlier in the day, the ROC press office published an approved list of 335 athletes selected to represent the country at the Summer Olympic Games. According to the published statement, the Olympic delegation of Russian athletes in Tokyo would include 185 female and 150 male athletes. The selected flag bearers of the national team at the opening ceremony of the Games in Tokyo are Russia’s 2016 Olympic champion in saber fencing Sofya Velikaya and Maxim Mikhailov, the 2012 Olympic champion in the men’s volleyball competition.

At the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro, the Russian national team finished fourth in the overall medals standings (19 gold, 17 silver, and 20 bronze). The top three national teams of the 2016 Olympics are the United States (46 gold, 37 silver, and 38 bronze), Great Britain (27-23-17), and China (26-18-26).