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Preparations and safety measures for Team Singapore’s participation at Tokyo 2020

Response to parliamentary question on the preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, as well as the measures that have been put in place to safeguard the health and safety of our Tokyo-bound Team Singapore contingents, especially in view of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

Question

Ms Sylvia Lim: To ask the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (a) what is the progress of preparations for Singapore's participation in the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics amidst the COVID-19 pandemic; and (b) what are the measures taken to ensure that the health of participating Singapore athletes will be adequately safeguarded.

Response

Mr Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth & Second Minister for Law:

  1. At present, a total of 23 Team Singapore athletes competing across 12 sports will be at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics.  Singapore will be making our Olympics debut in Diving, Equestrian and Marathon Swimming.  Besides the Olympics, Singapore will also be participating in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, where the Singapore National Paralympic Council (SNPC) will be announcing the final contingent of athletes soon. Currently, six para-athletes’ participation has been confirmed.
  2. Our athletes' well-being and safety are of paramount importance. The support teams have been planning and coordinating the athletes’ training and participation these past months.  For example, since the end of the Circuit Breaker period in 2020, MCCY has worked closely with the health authorities and many of the National Sports Associations (NSAs) to put in place training arrangements so that our Tokyo-bound athletes can continue their training at the National Training Centres and other designated venues, with strict Safe Management Measures (SMMs) and other safety protocols in place to ensure their health and safety, even as they train hard and prepare for the competition.
  3. MCCY and the Ministry of Health have also been working together closely on the vaccination plans for our athletes, coaches and officials who need to travel overseas for qualification events and major games competitions. All but one of our Team Singapore athletes and officials bound for the Olympic Games have already been fully vaccinated. The remaining one will complete the vaccination regimen by next week. We will also ensure that those bound for the Paralympics will also be fully vaccinated.
  4. We are also in contact with the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (TOCOG) as to its COVID-19 countermeasures to keep athletes safe. For starters, spectators will be restricted. To keep athletes and officials safe, most spectators will be cheering from behind screens instead of in stadiums, and athletes will have limited interaction with counterparts. Other measures include pre-departure tests prior to arrival in Tokyo, mask-wearing, safe distancing protocol of 2m, daily antigen rapid tests, as well as the use of health-reporting and contact-tracing apps. In the dining hall, acrylic partitions have been installed and food will be served in individual portions with allocated mealtimes to reduce crowding. The organisers have also designated hospitals with 24-hour emergency services and care facilities for COVID patients should the need arise. Our athletes and officials will comply with these measures.
  5. All members of our Team Singapore contingent will be issued with a travel kit comprising an ample supply of surgical-grade respirators and masks, a protective face shield and disinfectants. They will also be provided with an anti-microbial surface spray to pre-treat their attire and equipment with an anti-virus and anti-bacterial coating that can last for 3-6 months.
  6. On the ground in Tokyo, Team Singapore will be supported by a joint Games Secretariat, comprising staff from SportSG, SNOC and SNPC, who will oversee the daily movement and well-being of all members of the contingent. The contingent is supported by a medical team led by the Chief Medical Officer and comprising sport physiotherapists from the Singapore Sport Institute (SSI), Public Healthcare Institutions (PHIs) and the private sector, as well as sport scientists and psychologists from SSI. The medical team will be stationed at the Games Village where the athletes are staying and will be equipped to provide basic medical treatment, while our sport scientists and psychologists will help ensure that our athletes stay in top form physically and mentally, and are also meeting their nutrition needs.
  7. We will also be closely monitoring developments at the Games from Singapore, where SportSG has set up an operations centre. We will use technology and mobile apps to keep in touch with our contingent and monitor their well-being throughout the Games.
  8. Finally, over the last few weeks, MCCY, SportSG and SNOC have also worked with colleagues in Government to scenario plan and prepare contingency plans, rehearsed with a table-top simulation exercise, to prepare for many eventualities as possible, which includes possible evacuation.
  9. I wish to assure the Member that Team Singapore’s well-being will be our priority, and we will continue to be vigilant and adaptable to changes, as the Games progress. Let me also take the opportunity to ask all of Singapore to support our athletes at the Olympic Games, to rally and cheer them on, as they prepare to compete in their chosen sport at the highest level against world class competitors.

Last updated on 05 July 2021