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Elite athletes allowed to train return

Thursday, 11th June, 2020 10:41am

Elite athletes are set to get back to full training this week after the opening of designated high performance training centres and the easing of travel restrictions for elite athletes who are preparing for Tokyo 2020 was announced.

The move was welcomed by the Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI). The Taoiseach made the announcement last Friday as part of Phase 2 of the roadmap for reopening the country.

Chef de Mission for Team Ireland in Tokyo, Tricia Heberle said: “We are delighted to see athletes and sports return to their training centres and know that this will bring relief to the many athletes who can get back to their job of preparing for the Olympic Games next year.”

The OFI had previously campaigned for a travel exemption for Tokyo athletes.

The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross and the Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Tourism and Sport Brendan Griffin welcomed the decision to facilitate the return of high performance athletes and teams as well as their support staff to designated training centres from Monday.

The return to training is strictly limited to specified athletes and teams at the highest level of Irish sport. In addition to the athletes on the 2020 Sport Ireland International Carding Scheme, the IRFU professional players and the four FAI clubs who are preparing for European competition - Dundalk FC, Derry City FC, Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers – are also included.

These athletes and support staff, from 21 different sports, will now be permitted to travel beyond 20km from their homes to attend scheduled training sessions at specific training centres. Included is the National Rowing Centre in Ovens and training venues for Munster Rugby.

Sport Ireland will compile a list of athletes that will be permitted to return to training, as well as coaching and support personnel. Sport Ireland and the relevant sporting bodies have developed detailed protocols for social distancing and hygiene drawing on international experience.

Minister Griffin said: “Unfortunately, it is not yet possible to extend this accommodation to youth athletes and others; for now, it has to be limited to a defined list of athletes and coaches. I know that there are a great many people who would jump at the chance to return to sporting activity but I would ask for people’s continued patience. We will continue to work hard with all stakeholders to ensure no undue delay in returning to sport at every level.”

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