With just one day to go for the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games, nine support staff members of the Indian athletes in the Japanese capital, across five disciplines, are waiting for clarity on their access to the Olympics village and the competition area.
The support staff members had raised the issue about their access to the village and competition area on July 18 and subsequently had a meeting with the deputy chef de mission, Prem Verma, on July 20 at the Far East Village Hotel in Ariake, Tokyo.
The additional support staff members – including shuttler B. Sai Praneeth’s Indonesian coach Agus Dwi Santoso, the boxing contingent’s team doctor Dr Karanjit Singh, Manika Batra’s personal coach Sanmay Paranjpe and swimming coach Nihar Ameen – had sent a document to Verma, which Sportstar has accessed, to formally request additional access and have also detailed the reasons for the same. While these nine members had written to Verma on July 20, a couple of more requests have come from the wrestling contingent as well.
Most of the athletes whose support staff have made these requests begin their campaigns on July 24. Indian Olympic Association (IOA) officials have assured them that they are working with local organisers to ease access for the Indian support staff.
Singh, the team doctor of the Indian boxing contingent, has requested access to the Olympics village and competition venue for himself and physiotherapist Aayush Yekhande. He said they were “requesting access to the Olympic village at least for our team’s training time and at the competition venue. Most of the time our boxing training takes place within the Olympic village and therefore it is important to be present as medical support for our players.”
Paranjpe, Batra’s personal coach, also requested access to the Olympic village and competition area. “As a coach, I need to be present inside the village to monitor players’ strength and conditioning sessions, planning of various practice and match strategies, and mental preparation and support. During the competition, my presence during matches is crucial as Manika’s personal coach. This is extremely important in our game. This is as per the request and competition needs of the concerned athlete.”
Sumansh, a physiotherapist with the badminton team, has sought access to the competition arena for himself and Praneeth’s coach Santoso. Hockey coach Piyush Kumar Dubey and two alternate athletes (one male and one female) have put in a request for their access to the village and competition area, as has swimming coach Ameen.