Victor Scvortov (left), a naturalised judoka from Moldova, and Ivan Remarenco are the two athletes from UAE who have qualified for the new postponed Tokyo Olympics. Image Credit: Reuters

Dubai: The UAE has promised to continue with its push for enhanced safety and additional spots at next year’s 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Earlier this week, the UAE National Olympic Committee (UAE NOC) and the Organising Committee of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games discussed organisational and precautionary measures via on video conference with the UAE assuring the nation’s presence for the global sporting spectacle from July 23 to August 8.

The UAE NOC was represented by Ahmad Al Tayeb, Chairman, Technical and Sports Department and Butti Al Abdouli, Director of Performance Follow-up and Development at the UAE NOC while the Tokyo 2020 organisers included Michel Kamrouf, International Relations Officer for West Asia at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Gabriel Behr Andrade, NOC and NPC Relations Project Co-ordination Manager, Olympic Village, Tokyo.

“None of us are not exactly sure of what is going on in the world at the moment. But we are sure that we’ve never been through such times before. So it was important that all parties are on the same page as far as our participation at Tokyo 2020,” Al Tayeb told Gulf News.

Veteran shooter Shaikh Saeed Bin Maktoum Al Maktoum may get a call-up as a wild card in Tokyo, according to a senior official of UAE National Olympic Committee. Image Credit: Gulf News archive

“The organisers have been putting fresh measures especially on the medical front due to the existing coronavirus pandemic. And we needed to consider all these measures are reviewed and studied much in advance before the UAE contingent lands in Tokyo next year,” he added.

The UAE NOC officials also reviewed measures put in place for the protection and safety of athletes and officials during their participation and stay at the Olympic Village in the Japanese capital next year. “One of the things is the establishment of specialised Medical Centres at various locations in Tokyo prior, during and after the Games. The organisers are keen to ensure we are up to the mark when it comes to the safety and health of all attendees,” Al Tayeb noted.

Till date, the UAE contingent has just two athletes qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Games: the naturalised judokas Ivan Remarenco and Victor Scvortov and Al Tayeb is confident there may be a few more additions to this number in the next few months.

Both Remarenco and Scvortov, who shifted allegiance to the UAE from Moldova back in 2013, have qualified with Scvortov competing in the men’s 73kg category, while Remarenco will be in the men’s -100kg category.

Al Tayeb admitted that time is running out for the UAE’s sportspersons who still nurtured hope of using the qualifying route for next year’s Games. “I don’t think we have an opportunity to qualify in any of the sports, but we may be able to make it through wild cards or invitations,” he disclosed.

“Shaikh Saeed [Bin Maktoum Al Maktoum], who has represented the country for the past six Olympic Games may get an invitation or a wild card from the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF),” Al Tayeb noted.

“There is also the track and field where we may get a spot or two either through Saud Juma Al Zaabi (1,500mts), Alia Saeed (10,000m) and Naseeb Salmeen (200m). However, as per conditions laid down by World Athletics, our athletes need to be at the big international competitions first to stand a chance of making it to the Olympic Games next year,” he added.

“So for the time-being, it’s just two UAE athletes for Tokyo 2020, but this number can change at the end of the qualifying period,” Al Tayeb stressed.