BY MICHAEL PAVITT.
Tokyo 2020 has postponed the training of Olympic and Paralympic Games volunteers due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The first training sessions for volunteers, known as the “Field Cast”, began back in October.
Organisers said at the time that around 300 general training events would take place at 13 venues in 11 prefectures in the host nation by the end of February.
The general training sessions have briefly been halted due to the coronavirus outbreak, with Tokyo 2020 saying these will be rescheduled for a later date.
“As part of efforts to prevent the spread of infection of the novel coronavirus, we have decided to postpone trainings,” a Tokyo 2020 statement read.
“Cast members will be informed of rescheduled dates, venues, and other details in a separate notification.
“The Organising Committee continues to work closely with all related organisations to prepare for a safe and secure Tokyo 2020 Games.
“There are no considerations of cancelling the Games nor will the postponements of these activities have an impact on the overall Games preparation.
“In accordance with the government’s policy for preventing the spread of infectious diseases, we will also evaluate the immediate need for each Games-related event on a case by case basis.
“At all Tokyo 2020 events, we ask that all participants take appropriate measures to ensure that all will be able to participate in safety and with peace of mind.”
The training sessions are aimed at providing volunteers with the essential knowledge needed for the Games.
Sessions include an introduction from the participants and a lecture on what they should expect as a member of the Field Cast.
They will be provided with an overview of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as receiving a history lesson.
Training on diversity and inclusion will also be included, along with the rules and rewards of volunteering.
In total, 80,000 volunteers will support the Games, after being selected from 204,680 applicants.
Volunteers will provide support in guiding spectators, competition and media operations.
They will also be deployed in various locations, including competition venues and the Athletes’ Village.
The Field Cast volunteers will be given their Games-time roles next month, with specific training for the positions beginning in April.
Tokyo 2020 and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have insisted the Games will not be postponed or cancelled because of the virus, given the official title of COVID-19 by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The coronavirus has reportedly infected around 78,000 people worldwide, with 2,362 deaths caused.
While China has had the largest amount of cases with more than 76,000 reported, at least 100 have been detected in Japan.
John Coates, chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for Tokyo 2020, claimed this week the organisation was “satisfied” the event will be safe to attend.
During a project review of Tokyo 2020 last week, Coates claimed the WHO had told the IOC there was no case for cancelling or postponing the Games.
Tokyo 2020 President Yoshirō Mori has also remained defiant and blasted what he claimed were “irresponsible” rumours surrounding whether the Games would take place as planned.