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Zeyad Ishaish reflects on 2020 Tokyo Games

‘I don’t think I will ever forget how kind and respectful the Japanese people treated us athletes’

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Jordanian boxer Zeyad Ishaish is pictured competing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in this undated photo. (Photo: Handout from JOC)
AMMAN — Leaving the Olympics can be a mishmash of mixed feelings; there is the pride or devastation of winning or losing a competition, and mixed emotions of leaving other athletes and traveling home to see family, friends, and country.اضافة اعلان

As Japan grappled with escalating numbers of COVID-19 cases, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics were highly constrained by pandemic precautions and those departures from the norm were both logistically and emotionally very tough for the Japanese government.

To safeguard athletes, coaches, and Olympics personnel against COVID-19 and the Delta variant, a number of limitations were imposed.

One of the rules required that athletes and team officials gathered their belongings and returned home within 48 hours after their competition ended.

“I remember during the Games, the number of coronavirus cases skyrocketed, however, the comparatively low number of cases among Olympic athletes, as well as the fact that cases began to rise before most of us arrived in Tokyo, suggests that the Delta variant is to blame rather than the inflow of athletes from all over the world,” Jordanian boxing champ Zeyad Ishaish said of the International Olympic Committee’s efforts.

“Every athlete felt the heavy pressure of the restrictions but that didn’t take the joy out of being in the Olympics for the first time,” he added.

“Having my brother Hussein as my roommate is a privilege that I always enjoy whenever we are in the same competition, and meeting athletes from other countries from all over the world with different cultures is my favorite part of representing my country at international events.”

Athletes were tested on a regular basis in Tokyo, and they had to pass a COVID-19 test to board their flight back to their home countries.

The Jordan Olympics Committee had to manage ever-changing restrictions concerning what kind of testing players were required to go through when leaving Tokyo during the Games as athletes were returning home.

“I couldn’t count how many times I had to go through COVID-19 tests in Tokyo if my life depended on it.” Ishaish said.

However, despite all the precautions and rules, the Olympics boxer said the experience was the ‘most special and honoring in my career’.

“I don’t think I will ever forget how kind and respectful the Japanese people treated us athletes, while we were on the bus to the Olympic village they were cheering and taking pictures, I can only imagine how nice it would’ve felt to have those fans in the arena.”

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