• David Sanmi

Rwanda Agrees to Help With Tokyo Olympic Games

Courtesy of AP Photos

Africans are known for being willing to help and Rwanda has exhibited this spirit by agreeing to host a hub for participants of the Olympic Games that need to be vaccinated in preparation for the Games.

The Tokyo Olympic was postponed from last year due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus, which prevented the gathering of many people.

At the vaccination hub, which will be located in Kigali and run by the IOC rather than the NOC, Olympic and Paralympic athletes that have not been able to get vaccination in their home countries will be given shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which will be donated by both Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE.

The organization will help to cover the costs of travel when necessary.

The head of Rwanda's National Olympic committee, Uwayo Theogene, told BBC Sport Africa: "I see it as ourselves playing our modest role in the successful implementation of the Olympics. The Covid outbreak saw The Games postponed for a year, and even after one year, there's a lot of uncertainty but looks as if it is now happening so our country is playing a modest role in getting the things happening."

Explaining why her country agreed to step up to assist, Felicite Rwemarike, another IOC member in Rwanda, said “We were also driven to join this initiative in solidarity with our friends at the Japan Olympic Committee, who have constantly supported our NOC by generously hosting training camps for our athletes.”

IOC revealed that about 75 percent of the residents of the Olympic Village have been or have secured access to vaccination.

The IOC is setting up a similar hub in Doha, Qatar and will administer the same vaccine there. The Doha center will also host the Refugee Olympic Team’s training camp before they proceed to Tokyo for the Games.

Expressing appreciation to the two countries hosting the hubs, IOC NOC Relations and Olympic Solidarity Director James Macleod said: “We cannot thank enough the two NOCs, their national governments and Pfizer for their generosity and great show of willingness and support. The progress in preparation of work on the ground has been outstanding, and these additional vaccination opportunities are enabling the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 to be safe and secure not only for the participants, but also for the Japanese people.”

The Olympic Games are now scheduled to run from July 23rd to August 8th. Foreign spectators would not be allowed at the Games venues but a decision is yet to be made on local spectators. This though has not been enough to assure some Tokyo residents, as most of the responders to a poll in the city wanted the Games to be cancelled outright.

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