TT athletes will participate in a ten-day camp in Osaki Town, Japan prior to the start of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after a fruitful meeting was held on Friday including officials of the TT Olympic Committee (TTOC).

The Olympics will run from July 23-August 8. It was postponed by one year because of the covid19 pandemic.

President of the TTOC Brian Lewis, secretary general Annette Knott along with senior administrative officer and TT’s chef de mission for the Olympics, Lovie Santana, represented the TT Olympic contingent.

Ambassador of Japan Tatasuo Hirayama and first secretary Yamato Kobayashi participated in the virtual session along with Osaki Town liaison officer Kenji Nakamura.

Speaking to Newsday on Friday following the meeting, Lewis said, “It was a very constructive meeting. The Osaki Town officials, government officials would have reaffirmed their commitment to host the pre-games training camp.”

The TT athletes, many of which are still aiming to qualify for the Olympics, will arrive in Osaki Town along with TT officials on July 12.

Among those who have already booked a spot in Tokyo are 2012 javelin gold medallist Keshorn Walcott, 200m runner Jereem Richards, cyclist Nicholas Paul, the swim pair of Dylan Carter and Cherelle Thompson, and rower Felice Chow.

All the TT athletes would not be involved in the camp as the facilities will not be suitable for some sports including cycling, rowing and swimming.

In recent weeks Japan has seen a surge in covid19 cases, but Osaki Town has managed to control the spread of the virus.

“All things are in place, all covid19 counter measures etcetera. It is going to be a bio-secure bubble so that was positive,” noted the TTOC president.

Lewis said there is still work to be done to ensure the camp unfolds smoothly. “There are some logistical hurdles. We have to actually submit some documents by the 26th of May so we are at the point where we have to make some commitments in terms of the logistics and travel…that’s a bit of a challenge given the fact that our borders are closed.”

Lewis said Minister of Sport and Community Development Shamfa Cudjoe has been supporting the TTOC.

Asked about the funding of the camp, Lewis said, “The TTOC continues to work with all stakeholders, Ministry of Sport and Community Development, Olympic Solidarity (and) Pan Am Sports. That question will be best answered by the minister.”

Lewis commended the people of Japan for being co-operative in facilitating the TT athletes.

The TTOC president knows that because of the pandemic the TTOC and the TT athletes may have to be flexible during the lead up to the Games.

“This still has a significant amount of uncertainty and unpredictability but the IOC (International Olympic Committee), the Japanese government and the Tokyo Metropolitan government and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee…gave assurances to the world that the games are on.”

Lewis is hopeful that the TT delegation will be “100 per cent vaccinated.”

Panam Sports is offering a total of 6,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for all athletes, officials and delegates of the Americas that will participate in the Tokyo Games and Cali 2021 Junior Pan American Games.

The vaccination process for the first 4,000 doses begins on May 24 at the Consulate General of Mexico in Miami while the additional doses will be administered in Houston, on June 1, at the city’s airport.

Lewis said TT will try to capitalise on the opportunity to be vaccinated. The IOC has not made it mandatory for athletes and officials to be vaccinated before the Olympics.