Extra measures for Team Singapore to stay safe at Tokyo Olympics
Team S'pore have taken more precautions than mandated by Tokyo 2020 organisers, says chef de mission
Vaccinations - check. Protective gear, sanitisers - check. Contact-tracing app, operations centre, additional measures - check.
As the Team Singapore contingent prepare to head to the July 23-Aug 8 Olympics, safety precautions - some of which are even beyond those spelt out in the Tokyo 2020 playbook - are in place, said Singapore's chef de mission Dr Ben Tan in a media conference via Zoom yesterday.
The Republic will be sending an 80-strong contingent, comprising 23 athletes from a record number of 12 sports. Shuttler Loh Kean Yew and paddler Yu Mengyu will be the flag-bearers.
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong said in a parliamentary written reply on Monday that various measures - from vaccinations to even possible evacuation - have already been put in place to ensure everyone's safety .
Dr Tan, chief of sports medicine at Changi General Hospital and a former Olympic sailor, added yesterday: "Preparations have been thorough and featuring strongly in our preparations are our safety measures.
"All risk and threats have been assessed and managed. We have put in place precautions that are over and above what is in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games playbook."
The sports medicine and science team led by chief medical officer Dr Teoh Chin Sim has also come up with a health, hygiene and safety protocol which covers pre-departure, during and after the Games.
The Singapore-based athletes, who have been training within a "bubble", will arrive five days before the start of their competition and depart within 48 hours of its completion.
While in Tokyo, they will function in a "bubble within a bubble" to minimise their exposure to risks. They will also undergo Covid-19 tests daily.
A travel kit - containing sanitisers, surgical-grade respirators and masks, a protective face shield and disinfectants - will be issued to all.
Apps for reporting of health conditions and contact tracing within Japan, similar to Singapore's TraceTogether, will also be used.
The usual safety measures, such as mask-wearing and travelling only on designated vehicles, will still apply.
Dr Teoh added: "The safety and hygiene protocol for the Team Singapore contingent will be over and above what is necessitated by the hosts."
In case of emergency, there is a system to account for Team Singapore members using location tracking, said Singapore Sport Institute chief Toh Boon Yi.
"We have a call network to establish contact and identify everybody as well," he said, adding that a Singapore-based operations room to monitor developments is already up and running.
This year, Singapore's athletes will be featuring in three Olympic sports for the first time - diving, equestrian and marathon swimming.
This makes it a record number of 12 Olympic sports that the Republic will be represented in. The previous highest was nine at London 2012.
Describing this as a "quantum leap", Dr Tan said this was due to the success of the system.
He applauded Singapore's athletes for having the resilience to qualify for the Games despite the obstacles posed by the pandemic.
"Professionalism is what we want to see in our athletes, to not be daunted by challenges," said Dr Tan, who competed at Atlanta 1996. "And that's exactly what our athletes have shown in qualifying."
When asked about medal targets, he said: "Medal attainment is not the be-all and end-all. Using medals as a benchmark would not be accurate as the challenges now are different from the past. Medals can only be one of the parameters."
Singapore's athletes at Tokyo Olympics 2020
Athletics: Shanti Pereira (women's 200m)
Badminton: Loh Kean Yew (men's singles), Yeo Jia Min (women's singles)
Diving: Freida Lim (women's 10m platform), Jonathan Chan (men's 10m platform)
Equestrian: Caroline Chew (individual dressage)
Fencing: Amita Berthier (women's foil), Kiria Tikanah Abdul Rahman (women's epee)
Gymnastics: Tan Sze En (women's individual all-around)
Rowing: Joan Poh (women's single sculls)
Sailing: Amanda Ng (women's RS:X), Kimberly Lim & Cecilia Low (women's 49er FX), Ryan Lo (men's laser)
Shooting: Adele Tan (women's 10m air rifle)
Swimming: Chantal Liew (women's 10km open water), Joseph Schooling (men's 100m fly, 100m free), Quah Ting Wen (women's 50m & 100m free), Quah Zheng Wen (men's 100m & 200m fly, 100m back)
Table tennis: Clarence Chew (men's singles), Feng Tianwei (women's singles & team), Lin Ye (women's team), Yu Mengyu (women's singles & team)