— Published 1 February 2021

Athletes will not have priority

Italian athletes have been warned: they will not benefit from any privileges in the vaccination process put in place in the country to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Giovanni Malago (pictured above), president of the National Olympic Committee, admitted in an interview with La Repubblica: those selected for the Tokyo Games will not be given priority. “We know that there are many countries where national athletes are about to be vaccinated“, said the Italian leader, also a member of the IOC. “We will never ask for that. We don’t want that either. An elderly person should be vaccinated before an athlete in their twenties. But a high level athlete has to travel a lot, for gatherings, competitions… He goes through airports, locker rooms, competition venues, to defend the Italian flag. It is up to the political world to decide (for vaccination), not to the sports movement”. Hungary and Serbia started vaccinating their Olympic athletes at the end of last week. In Israel, the National Olympic Committee announced that half of its Tokyo Games delegation had already been vaccinated, with the process to be completed by the end of May.