Mon, 26 Jul 2021

Cuban Olympic athletes abide by COVID-19 protocols

21 Jul 2021, 12:18 GMT+10

TOKYO, July 20 (Xinhua) -- Cuban athletes abide by COVID-19 protocols to minimize the risk of contagion with the virus as they prepare to compete at Tokyo 2020 Olympics, to be held from July 23 through August 8.

Cuba's Olympic delegation, which arrived in Japan on Thursday, has reinforced cleaning and disinfecting procedures after the first cases of coronavirus were reported at the Tokyo Olympic Village.

Before departing from the Caribbean nation, Cuban athletes were immunized against COVID-19 with three doses of homegrown vaccines and subject to regular PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) tests.

In addition, elite athletes were taken outside Havana, as the country's capital remained as the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic on the island.

Ariel Sainz, vice president of Cuba's Institute of Sports, Physical Education and Recreation, told Xinhua that strict sanitary measures are a paramount priority for the Cuban delegation.

"For the moment, we have met our goals in keeping with our plans for these first days," he said, noting the importance of self-protection to avoid contracting the virus.

It comes as Japan has reported more than 800,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 15,000 deaths since the sanitary emergency began.

So far, more than 70 people affiliated with the games have tested positive for COVID-19 in Japan as the country's government strives to contain a spike in daily cases, deaths and hospitalizations due to the pandemic.

The Cuban Olympic delegation has 69 competitors, mostly wrestlers, boxers and track and field athletes.

Among them is female pole vaulter Yarisley Silva, who recovered from COVID-19 and now expects to win an Olympic medal.

"I do not want to get infected with the virus again," she told Xinhua. "I want to become an Olympic champion for the first time. I know it is difficult, but I'll go for it. "

With some five gold medals predicted to be won, the island expects to place among top 20 in the overall medal count at the Tokyo Olympics.

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