International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach has asked athletes to get vaccinated against Covid-19 to show “solidarity” with their Japanese hosts.
Bach’s words come as he concludes a two day visit to the facilities for the Tokyo Olympics.
The trip to the Japanese capital was his first since the decision to delay the Games until next year.
Bach however reiterated that competitors would not be forced to get a vaccination.
“We will encourage athletes that whenever possible they have the vaccination because it is better for their health and it is also a demonstration of solidarity with their fellow athletes and also the Japanese people,” said the German.
No vaccine is available yet but there are hopes the Pfizer, BioNTech vaccine as well as the Moderna vaccine will be rolled out next year after each claimed success with their trials.
More than 11,000 athletes are expected to compete in Tokyo for the Olympics, which starts in July next year while thousands more travel for the subsequent Paralympics.
The IOC president also made it clear when a vaccine was made available athletes were not going to jump the queue before the games.
“We made it clear from the very beginning that the first priorities are for the nurses, medical doctors and everybody who keeps our society alive, despite the coronavirus crisis. These are the people who deserve to be the first ones to be vaccinated.”
“In this kind of uncertainty, it is only human that you also feel uncertain about such a big event as the Olympics in nine months from now.”
Tokyo 2020 organisers will this week hold a review meeting to decide on a range of Covid-19 counter-measures, including whether spectators will be allowed at venues.