The President of the National Olympic Committee of Sierra Leone Dr. Patrick Coker has advised all Sports Associations that in as much as everyone wants to resume training, they should take the COVID-19 precautions very serious. He gave this advice in a meeting held at the NOC Head office at Howe Street in Freetown on Wednesday 14th October 2020, where Olympic sport Associations were given some amount of money to prepare and disinfect their administrative offices and training facilities for the upcoming Olympic and Commonwealth Games.
He reminded them that COVID-19 is still on the rampage, killing thousands of people in the world. As a Medical Doctor, he warned that Coronavirus reacts on some people slowly while some it reacts fast. He went on that it is more dangerous for those above the age of 60 years. He mentioned that in some countries they test all athletes who want to start training and isolate them till the results are out.
But in Sierra Leone, he said it will be very expensive to take such venture especially to isolate them in camps. He then said they will encourage all associations to put together all athletes that will be taking part in the preparations for Olympic Games to do the COVID-19 test together. This he said NOC will take care of the test cost for all.
Dr. Coker has also been appointed by the ANOCA President as the Chairman Medical Commission for Africa. He told them that he already has a committee of five persons that he is now working with. Dr. Coker said already he has held several meetings online with the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA) due to his very good relationship with the Africa WADA President. He admonished them they will be organizing a webinar in Sierra Leone on Anti-Doping in November this year which he advised all associations to send representatives including coaches and athletes to take part. This, he said will be more necessary for those preparing to go for games like Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games and Islamic Games. In that webinar, he said they will be talking on return to games. He said already he has got two speakers a male from Nigeria and a female from South Africa for the webinar.
The Chef De Mission, Unisa Deen Kargbo told members present that in a webinar which he was part of, the Olympic Games organizers assured them that the Games will take place next year. After going through the COVID situation, he said they concluded and that there will be changes this time round which will involve reduction in wild cards, guests and mandatory two weeks isolation. During the test at the Airport, if one is positive they will treat him but he did not mention who will take care of the cost. He went on that the cost will not be taking care of by the Japanese government neither IOC but your own government. He further said after the two weeks, if one tested positive it will be the responsibility of the Japanese government.
This time round teams will be asked to depart as soon as they are out of games whether COVID-19 is over or not.
The system of registration will reopen possibly in November this year and will close in two months’ time.
Athletes in the diaspora, he said has been asked to do their own test in the country’s NOC where they are staying but the question again is who will be responsible for their camping. For those preparing athletes, he said they have been asked not to take the risk but to go by the right procedure of what the medical authorities say.
The Secretary General of NOC, Joseph Nyande advised all athletes not to forget about anti-doping as such they should take time which drug(s) they use or ask for medical advice from trained and qualified Doctors.