In the week that the Tokyo Olympic Games were supposed to be held, Brazilian athletes received more good news. On Monday, the 20th, the Brazilian Olympic Committee (BOC) reopened the Brazil Team Training Center, in the Barra's Olympic Park, in Rio de Janeiro, and began the gradual resumption of training on site. Following strict protocols of the Guide for the Practice of Olympic Sports in the COVID-19 Scenario, released in June by the entity, in this first moment, a maximum of 40 people will be able to enter the facility each day.
The first ones to arrive at the BOC’s TC on Monday were the marathon swimmers Ana Marcela Cunha and Allan do Carmo. “Being back at the Brazil Team TC and having all of this adequate structure already brings a new spirit to be able to return to the training pace. This return is being very nice. I am feeling very safe with all the protocols and now we should slowly, calmly, resume our training, and things will start to happen”, said Ana Marcela Cunha, who during the isolation used equipment provided by the BOC in her home to simulate the strokes in the water.
The initial group that will use the Brazil Team TC is formed by athletes who reside in Rio de Janeiro and have already secured a place for the Tokyo Olympic Games or are close to the Olympic classification and are not part of the Mission Europe. New permissions will be granted gradually, according to the five phases established by the BOC protocol.
“I've been training with equipment at home for a month, but it's not the same as coming to the TC. I was training in Denmark, I had some weights at the club, but nothing compared to the structure here. I am very excited to be able to come back and have everything at our disposal. After so much time off, it gives me a feeling of joy and motivation”, celebrated Ygor Coelho, Pan American badminton champion.
In addition to the two marathon swimmers and Ygor Coelho, the beach volleyball duo Ágatha and Duda, the diver Ingrid Oliveira and the wrestling athlete Giulia Penalber, among others, also attended the TC this Monday. Throughout the week, it is projected that competitors from four other sports will resume their training in the space administered by the BOC since 2008 and which had been closed for about four months because of the new coronavirus pandemic.
After all the tests and simulations provided for in the first phase of the protocol, the reopening of the TC is the second step within this return. “The implementation was put into practice with all the rigidity in relation to the screening tests, cleaning of the equipment, social distancing and shifts regarding the occupations of the rooms. All the rules that have been established are being observed and we will continue to improve these controls in the coming days to offer the best safety conditions for our athletes”, said BOC's Sports Director, Jorge Bichara, informing that all athletes scheduled for using TC this week will undergo assessments to identify which physical stage they are in. In this way, the training schedule will be defined from now on.
At this first moment, the Olympic and diving pools of the Maria Lenk Aquatic Park are in operation, in addition to the Strength and Conditioning Room and the Olympic Laboratory. The Artistic Gymnastics Training Center remains closed, as the cleaning of the equipment will take more time. Meanwhile, athletes from the Brazilian national team will train in Sangalhos (Portugal), as part of the Mission Europe.
The Brazil Team TC starts operating again in an important week for athletes. “Starting this resumption exactly in the week when the 2020 Olympic Games would be held has a great symbolism. BOC's intention is to make this a special week and that everyone, using the TC or not, will have the same feeling. We are facing a difficult moment, but we will get through it and return to our condition of preparation. We are going to work very hard in this period in order to arrive in July 2021 in our best condition so that everyone can represent Brazil in Tokyo very well”, highlighted Bichara.
Currently, the entity works on two major fronts. In addition to the reopening of the Brazil Team TC, it puts in place the Mission Europe, which will allow a return to training for about 200 athletes until the end of the year. At the moment, athletes from judo, swimming, artistic swimming, boxing, artistic gymnastics and rhythmic gymnastics are in Portugal. The BOC also follows the resumption of training for other athletes abroad such as Thiago Braz and Núbia Soares, from athletics, Nathalie Moellhausen, from fencing, Bruno Fratus, from swimming, Tati Weston Webb, from surfing, among others.