NOCZ intensifies Olympic Games preparations
Updated: May 9
In a bid to provide an update on preparations made so far concerning the country’s Olympic Games participation, National Olympic Committee of Zambia (NOCZ) held a Technical Committee meeting that included an invitation to General Secretary’s and their technical staff of the relative sports codes identified to participate at the Tokyo 2020 Games.
In attendance at the event which was held at OYDC Zambia – Sports Development Centre, on Saturday 1st May 2021, was Zambia Women’s National Football team Coach Bruce Mwape and Team Manager Chibwe Besa, Boxing team Coach Wisdom Mudenda, Judo Coach Lipimile Moola who trains Steven Mung’andu, also included were Coaches; Sydney Mushipi and Cephas Nyendwa, from Zambia Athletics.
Juma Muwowo from Badminton and Nicola Sharpe-Phiri from Zambia Swimming Union (ZASU) made up the final list of members in attendance from the Federations.
On the part of NOCZ the Chairperson Hazel Kennedy was supported by Mr Mabvuto Nguni, Dr Titus Fernando, Chipo Mulenga, Gloria Makungu, Felix Munyika and Chishimba Bwalya.
The update reviewed reports from the federations and the status of the athletes. The main focus was however on the logistical challenges of the Games in terms of the Coronavirus pandemic and conditions that the organising committee and International Olympic Committee (IOC) have placed on all NOCs travelling to the games.
Zambia’s delegation leader Hazel Kennedy, who is also NOCZ Vice-President begun the meeting by urging officials to be vigilant in ensuring that athletes do not contract the virus before or during the games.
She said officials and staff will be required to work hard to support the athletes whilst in camp and police them to ensure they remain safe whilst trying not to inconvenience them too much.
“There is going to be a lot work for coaches and managers, you will have to be like guards for your athletes,” she said, “Its very taxing and trying but you will have to be on top of things.”
“As management we will want you to be very honest with any problems arising from your camp, here we are talking about life matters, so let’s be mindful, COVID19 is real out there.”
And NOCZ Programmes Officer Chipo Mulenga highlighted the team’s travel arrangements, with athletes expected to enter camp by July 9th in Asahi-Chiba, Japan, where they will be based before travelling to Tokyo for the games.
She revealed that all athletes and officials will travel as one group from Zambia due to the travel restrictions of the pandemic, although all respective participants of the Games are expected to depart within 48 hours of them being eliminated from their competition.
Medical Commission chairperson Dr Titus Fernando who is also the Coronavirus Liaison Officer (CLO) revealed that as part of monitoring the occurrence of coronavirus prevalence, travelling personnel will be expected to provide all scheduled movements 45 days before the day of departure.
“If you are meeting someone the Tokyo 2020 organising team have requested a full schedule covering all details of all appointments and arrangements that are anticipated or put in place 45 days before we arrive in Tokyo”.
He also revealed that everyone travelling for the Games will be required to have a smartphone where contact tracing applications for the pandemic will be installed.
One of the apps called COCOA, will be used to trace movements of the athletes around the games village with the help of phones Global Position System (GPS) which will be required to be turned on at all times.
However, he also urged everyone that will be travelling to ensure they get vaccinated to avoid getting inconvenienced.
Although the IOC has stipulated that it is not compulsory, it is clear from the Playbook, which all athletes and NOCZ must appraise themselves with, that the vaccination is a positive move.
The entire team is expected receive the second vaccination in June. The team will be subjected to COVID-19 testing 72 hours prior to departure.
Dr Fernando confirmed that he is studying the CLO terms and playbook and will continue to update the athletes and officials.
The meeting was interactive and all participants had an opportunity to ask questions which were answered by the NOC team.
The concerns of the relative sports codes in regard to their training preparations were taken into consideration and the NOCZ will continue to mitigate these concerns together with Government.
Further updates covering all logistics will be provided regularly.