600 Chinese Olympic Athletes Training In Coronavirus Containment In Paris Up To Departure For Tokyo 2020, Claims IOC Member

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Australia’s John Coates, the International Olympic Committee member in self-isolation after returning home from a trip to Europe, has claimed that 600 Chinese athletes are in a contained environment in Paris training for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at what the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the heart of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic – Europe.

France is among European nations locking down their countries as the virus takes hold and the French death count rose by 29 on Sunday to 120. France, which has closed its borders, is believed by experts to be around three weeks behind the same curve as Italy travelled on the way to the country’s effective closure.

In an article in the Sydney Morning Herald in which Coates contradicts fellow IOC member Dick Pound and the IOC President Thomas Bach when he claims that there is no May deadline for deciding the fate of the Tokyo 2020 Games, the top Olympic official from Australia says:

“The Chinese are in various parts of Europe and the last I heard is they’re bringing them all together in a university in Paris where they’ll be fully contained, 600 of them, and they will go straight from confinement there, straight into Japan. They won’t put anyone on a plane who has got coronavirus.

“They’re all basically in serious lockdown. There will be instances … some athletes will catch it. Let’s hope it’s not serious and you’ve got your two weeks to get through it.”

The reference is at the tail end of an article focussing on the apparent row at the helm of the IOC over a suggested <ay deadline for deciding whether the Games in Tokyo will go ahead on the planned Opening date of July 24.

After reporter Chris Barrett notes: “Beyond qualifying, the task of getting athletes from the around the world into Japan without further spreading coronavirus appears momentous but Coates remains confident.,” Coates says:

“Japan has got some restrictions on athletes but I know that the Chinese are probably the best organised. All the big NOCs [national Olympic committees] know where their athletes are and are preparing.”

He then reveals that “The Chinese are in various parts of Europe and the last I heard is they’re bringing them all together in a university in Paris where they’ll be fully contained, 600 of them, and they will go straight from confinement there, straight into Japan”.

That will doubtless cause questions to be raised in France, which is struggling with its own coronavirus crisis, has locked down sport and closed pools and other facilities across the country, begging such questions as: where are the 600 Chinese athletes training; are they safe; how are they managing to access training facilities, food, what will happen to them if one athlete tests positive for COVID-19 and… when did they arrive, given that China has long had strict  travel restrictions in place and Europe is now in lockdown?

Extraordinary Events In Swimming History:

Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Italy, France, Ireland, Spain, the Netherlands, Brazil and Japan have all had major meets affected by the coronavirus pandemic, while in the United States, the NCAA Championships have been cancelled and USA Swimming has imposed a 30-day suspension on all events, while Canada is considering what to do about its Olympic trials early next month. In Italy, where swimmers are struggling to maintain normal routines, can’t get to practice and in some cases find pool time, a #stopolympics campaign was launched by the Nuoto website calling on solidarity among swimming nations to recognise that Olympic preparations have been blown off course and that it would be in the interests of fairness to postpone the Games for a time of calm beyond the coronavirus crisis. 

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10 comments

  1. Jean-Marc Soulas

    Is this investigative journalism or merely copy/paste from “my home-office”? Not a single line about those allegations in European let alone French reliable media! And with recent sport scandals in France, you’d think they would go after the sport minister for allowing this?! Check with your colleagues from L’Équipe or S24.

    • Craig Lord

      Jean-Marc Soulas it is a claim from an IOC member so he’s either correct or … NOT … it could not have been in any other media because, presumably, no-one knew … which is why it says claims and why we raise it … your ‘reliable’ is insulting and inaccurate when aimed at this reporter. The report is legitimate and raises questions that I would hope your ‘reliable’ media will now be asking

    • Arnaud Gagneux

      Craig Lord when I read the link it quotes an article from Chris Barrett quoting John Coats.
      So that is second degree hearsay with no validation.
      I could not see any proof such as photos of the swimmers, interview of the hotel or the French swimming federation.
      Where is the added value?
      It seems to be more a bold than investigative journalism.
      What I am missing?

    • Craig Lord

      Arnaud Gagneux it is a senior IOC member making two claims now in the public domain … it is entirely legitimate to raise those claims as the questions start. It is not hearsay… it is a quote from a leading member of the IOC who is accountable for what he says … and there is not a single mention of swimmers … you made that up

    • Arnaud Gagneux

      Craig Lord that I understand but how is this different from hearsay if there are no corroboration? What value add is the link in this thread bringing to the article that is quoted?
      Distribution to a larger or targeted audience?

    • Craig Lord

      Arnaud Gagneux accountability … if no-one questions it. As we have done —- that is what a ‘claim’ is —- how could this be verified? Even if we wanted to we could not pop over the border and knock on the door … it is a hugely tall claim and one that needs attention drawing to it. We have asked questions and await answers. I beg to differ on hearsay … he cites numbers and a relatively specific venue and he knew he was speaking to the SMH … and he will surely have known than any journalist reading that claim in the realm of sport, Olympics etc in corona season will go ‘what!? ‘ … and if it is simply hearsay even worse because we would then have to question the other claims he is making, including the inference that the IOC is not even considering a decision on plan b if the games can’t go ahead, etc etc

    • Arnaud Gagneux

      Craig Lord there might be a story there, but implying that Chinese swimmers are responsible for the COVID19 spread in France is at least of poor taste while unsubstantiated, at worst plain racism.
      There are far more tourists from Asian in France that swimmers training in containment.
      And there are French tourists skiing in Italy, people of all nationalities freely moving between countries.
      For me it does not fly, far too simplistic and dangerously narrow minded.
      And now the pendulum is swinging as China is reporting that the majority of new cases as from foreigners entering the country.

    • Craig Lord

      Arnaud Gagneux 1. Swimmers are Not mentioned in any of this … u just made that up . 2. There is not one suggestion that Chinese might be responsible for what you suggest … you have read 1+1 and calculated 3. You leap to a conclusion on something that is simply NOT a part of either article. Why would you do that ?!

    • Arnaud Gagneux

      Craig Lord Fair point on 1) I thought that swimming world was focusing on swimmers but dair enough.
      on 2) you are not being honest as the structure and writing points to a link:
      He then reveals that “The Chinese are in various parts of Europe and the last I heard is they’re bringing them all together in a university in Paris where they’ll be fully contained, 600 of them, and they will go straight from confinement there, straight into Japan”.

      That will doubtless cause questions to be raised in France, which is struggling with its own coronavirus crisis, has locked down sport and closed pools and other facilities across the country, begging such questions as: where are the 600 Chinese athletes training; are they safe; how are they managing to access training facilities, food, what will happen to them if one athlete tests positive for COVID-19 and… when did they arrive, given that China has long had strict travel restrictions in place and Europe is now in lockdown?

      • avatar
        Craig Lord

        Not a single word there causes me any concern Arnaud. The paragraph that follows lists questions, including ‘are they safe’… why would you not leap on that and ask if that is being racist against the French? Presumably because racism and the intent you seem to imply are simply and entirely absent. It is similar to the argument on Sun Yang: all questions and criticism must be racism… until people wake up to the idea that there were three young Chinese people being ‘intimidated’ according to WADA… and their rights count too! I can only suggest you read the articles again without first making an assumption.