Athletics union about positively tested athletes: ‘You don’t want such a drama in Tokyo’

The Athletics Union hopes that lessons will be learned from the European Indoor Championships in Torun, after no fewer than eight Dutch athletes tested positive for the corona virus shortly after returning home. The Dutch federation informed the medical committee of the European athletics federation about the infections, but is still waiting for a response.

The infected Dutch athletes are doing well. One more athlete is a bit snotty and suffers from a sore throat, reports technical director Ad Roskam of the Athletics Union.

The Dutch team, which was present with 34 athletes at the tournament in Torun, Poland, two weeks ago and won a record number of seven medals, was not the only one to have to deal with corona when they returned home. The British team reported ten infections, the German team reported seven positive cases, the French team six and even fifteen athletes in the Italian team reportedly tested positive.

In all, that is already 46 athletes who probably got infected during the tournament. According to director Pieke de Zwart of the Athletics Union, European Athletics is busy making an inventory of the positive cases and there will be feedback one of these days. The European union itself has not yet commented on the infections at all.

‘From now on we take fate in our own hands’

It is striking that after the NK indoor, in which previous 782 athletes participated in Apeldoorn, not a single athlete tested positive. “But in an international tournament with participants from many countries, it can still go wrong despite corona measures,” says De Zwart. “I think we should learn from what went wrong in Torun. You don’t want such a drama at the Olympics later on.”

Technical director Roskam said earlier that he was not very pleased with how the organization complied with its own protocols. For example, the bus transport of athletes between the hotel and the sports hall did not go well and the queues were far too long for a mandatory corona test, in which athletes were outside in the cold.

“I now focus on our next activity to organize it as safely as possible”, says Roskam. “From now on we will first take a good look at where we end up and we will take matters into our own hands, because I no longer want to depend on the organization.”
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