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18 Oct 2019

IF medical experts get ready for Tokyo 2020

With less than 10 months to go to Tokyo 2020, more than 40 medical experts from International Federations (IFs), the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) and the International Testing Agency (ITA) met in Lausanne on 18 October to prepare for Games time. At the dedicated ASOIF Medical Workshop, the participants agreed on roles, responsibilities and plans for athlete care in the medical field. They also discussed specific risks such as heat issues and learnt about details of the anti-doping procedures. It is the first time that the ITA will be involved in the protection of clean athletes at an Olympic Summer Games edition.

Earlier this week, the IOC had announced that it is planning to move the Olympic marathon and race walking events to Sapporo, the host city of the Olympic Winter Games 1972, as part of a wide range of measures already being taken by Tokyo 2020 in consultation with the IOC and the IFs to mitigate the effects of the temperatures which may occur next summer.

Margo Mountjoy, Chair of ASOIF’s Medical & Science Consultative Group (AMSCG) said after the meeting: “The ASOIF Medical workshop provided an excellent opportunity for the IFs to learn from each other to develop standards for athlete care during international competition. Focussing on the Olympic Games, the IF medical chairpersons then applied these principles to better prepare for Tokyo 2020 to ensure ideal athlete health and safety.”

Richard Budgett, IOC Medical and Scientific Director added: “The meeting confirmed that IF medical experts are key partners for the IOC Medical and Scientific Commission and the Olympic Games Organising Committee. They play a vital role thanks to their sport specific expertise in the protection of athlete health on and off the field of play.”

Key conclusions of the meeting included:

  • Heat remains a health concern for competing athletes at the Olympic Games, and risk mitigation strategies have been developed for implementation before and during the Games time period.
  • Standardisation of Emergency Action Plans for athlete injuries on the field of play were developed based on best practices from expertise of the IF’s Medical Chairs.
  • Illness during the Olympic Games is historically 7-9% in athletes: interventions to decrease these risks were reviewed.
  • Protection of the clean athlete is a priority, and cooperation between the ITA and the IFs is essential to maximise effectiveness of the anti-doping programme.

The programme of the workshop was prepared by ASOIF’s Medical & Science Consultative Group (AMSCG), supported by the IOC.