There will be no New Zealand Paralympic delegation at the opening ceremony in Tokyo. The reason is clear: there are concerns about the Covid-19 pandemic. All this is compounded by the fact that interest in the issue in both New Zealand and Australia is obsessive (one case is capable of causing a complete shutdown for days).
New Zealand, which has 29 athletes and a 66-person delegation, will not carry its flag in the nations parade. Explain the head of the delegation Paula Tesoriero: “As a team, we operate in the same way as the New Zealand bubble, where there are other bubbles for individual sports, and So exposure of team members to large groups of people from many countries is not in line with our anti-Covid protocols All in all, our measures are aimed at keeping our team as safe as possible, in light of the growing number of cases in Tokyo“.
IPC spokesman Craig Spence said organizers respect New Zealand’s choice, but also emphasized how measures are being taken at the ceremony to protect athletes from exposure to Covid-19. still: “As far as I know, the only country that won’t be there with the flag bearer is New Zealand. It is their choice. I talked to Fiona Alan, their secretary, last night, said, “We are a small team, a lot of these athletes are competing tomorrow and we want to be completely safe.” […] I think there are many countries that will be bringing small delegations to the rally, not only because of Covid, but also because it’s a long day and they’re going to spend a lot of time behind the scenes getting ready for the party. We estimate that it will last a little shorter, given the fact that there are fewer athletes than usual“.
Just yesterday, it was confirmed that Afghanistan, again in terms of flags, will also have its own parade as an act of solidarity with the people. That it returned to Taliban control in August is dramatic for the country’s history. There should have been two players, and they won’t be able to, making this one of the 21 countries without representatives.
Photo: La Presse
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