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SUVA,FIJI- MARCH 31,2021 (FIJI SUN): Negotiations are underway to ensure that Team Fiji athletes and officials are protected in the case of contracting coronavirus (COVID-19) during the Tokyo Olympic Games in Japan.

The discussion arose during the Team Fiji Mini Assembly at the Holiday Inn Suva  after a presentation by Marsh Travel Insurance revealed that there was no insurance cover for athletes and officials, if they contract coronavirus at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Marsh Insurance Travel representative, Bulou Rabua, said, this is because COVID-19 had been declared by the World Health Organisation as a global pandemic and they (with other travelling insurance) do not cover anything that is related to it.

However, she indicated that the Team Fiji insurance covers everything else like injuries, sickness (excluding coronavirus), luggage, death, kidnapping and so on

The Question and Answer (Q&A) session brought to light that even Team Fiji athletes based overseas of judoka Tevita Takayawa and sailor Sophia Morgan were not covered with any insurance.

Morgan, who is in New Zealand has qualified for the Olympic Games on merit while Tokyo-based Takayawa is close to qualifying.

Fiji Association of Sport and National Olympic Committee (FASANOC) board member, Cathy Wong said: “Athletes are the key to this and they must be protected.”

Rabua said they are going to look at Morgan and Takayawa’s case and they can reactivate their insurance cover.

FASANOC chief executive officer, Lorraine Mar, said, they are going to discuss with Marsh Insurance Travel on the reactivation of the athletes insurance.

Team Fiji chef de mission Patrick Bower said so far the men’s and women’s rugby sevens teams along with Morgan have qualified for the Olympics.

Speaking from Tokyo, Takayawa urged Team Fiji contingent that they must be prepared to undergo seven coronavirus tests while there.

He said two weeks ago he was competing in Uzbekistan.

“Two weeks before leaving I had to undergo two tests as requirement with the Judo Federation.

“I must test negative to get my papers and travel out of Japan,” Takayawa said.

“When I reached Uzbekistan I was tested in the airport and again at the hotel where I had to be quarantined for 15 days. I had to put on three jackets and train in my room to keep to my weight.

“Once the result of the test came out and it was negative, I was then allowed to move around the airport. I had to undergo the same procedure when I returned to Japan.”

Takayawa said on game day they’ll travel from their hotel to the games venue and return.

He has urged the Team Fiji contingent to closely follow all health protocols while in Tokyo.

“Also, if here and moving around always let the team officials of your whereabouts,” he added…..PACNEWS

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