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Team Cook Islands unfazed by growing Covid cases in Japan

Tuesday 13 July 2021 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Other Sports, Sports

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Team Cook Islands unfazed by growing Covid cases in Japan
From left, Dr Teariki Puni, CISNOC’s sports manager Raukura Ellison and the chef de mission John Paul Wilson will depart Rarotonga today for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. 21071201.

The Rarotonga-based members of Team Cook Islands to Tokyo Olympic Games are looking forward to the event despite concerns over increasing number of Covid-19 infections in Japan.

Team Cook Islands chef de mission John Paul Wilson and Cook Islands Sports and National Olympic Committee (CISNOC) sports manager Raukura Ellison will depart Rarotonga today for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Despite Japan’s current Covid-19 state of emergency because of the rising new infections and the highly contagious Delta variant, the small Cook Islands delegation of six athletes and over a handful of officials will still head to Tokyo.

Wilson is confident that Tokyo have stringent measures in place.

“We have had many meetings with International Olympic Committee (IOC) regarding the Covid pandemic in Tokyo,” said Wilson.

“These Olympic Games will be like no other - there will be no spectators, it will be absolutely different, a different Games all together.”

The six athletes who will represent the nation at the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games are: Swimming - Wesley Roberts and Kirsten Fisher-Marsters, Slalom Canoeing - Jane Nicholas, Athletics 800 meters - Alex Beddoes and Canoeing - Jade Tierney and Kohl Tamarua-Horton.

The Cook Islands Olympic official’s delegation include an official for each sports code led by chef de mission John Paul Wilson, CISNOC president Hugh Graham, CISNOC general secretary Owen Lewis, CISNOC’s sports manager Raukura Ellison, team doctor Dr Teariki Puni, Cook Islands Aquatics Federation president Romani Katoa and Minister of Sport Vaine (Mac) Mokoroa

Athlete Jane Nicholas is currently in Tokyo training for the slalom event. She will not enter into the Games Village until Wilson arrives.

“There are measures in place and so far Jane has commented that things now are going well. If we all follow the rules, we will be fine,” Wilson said.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga had announced their government will impose a state of emergency in Tokyo that will last through the Olympics until August 22.

According to the NZ Herald, fans will be banned from Tokyo-area stadiums and arenas when the Olympics begin in two weeks, so that means the Tokyo Olympics will largely be a TV- only event.

The declaration made by Prime Minister Suga, and the spectator ban was agreed to by Japanese Olympic organisers, the International Olympic Committee, the International Paralympic Committee, and the metropolitan government of Tokyo.

The state of emergency begins July 12 and runs through August 22. The Olympics, which opens on  July 23 at the new $1.4 billion national stadium, runs through August 8, falling entirely under the emergency period, while the Paralympics will start on August 24.