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
“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
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,”
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.