I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to you for your tireless support and cooperation extended toward Triathlon, Paratriathlon and the relevant Multi Sports.
We, the Japan Triathlon Union (JTU), have offered instructions to each organizer to respect the policy implemented by the national government and the relevant ministries as a primary measure to cope with the new coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. In that, we asked them through the host authorities and JTU member organizations to consider either the postponement or cancellation of Triathlon events and the like in each case respectively, with the target date of 15th March 2020. In addition, if those events are to be organized, we make it a rule to take sufficient precautious measures, while taking care of the local environment.
Under this circumstances, the 36th Miyakojima Triathlon was announced to be cancelled today on 2nd March. The Ishigakijima Triathlon scheduled for a week before the Miyakojima event is still being under consideration of whether or not to be organized. All the current local situation is taken into the consideration, and finally the decision is expected to be made in late March.
On the other hand, the Tokyo Marathon was organized with the limited participation of Elite runners and Para category runners. As for professional baseball games, preseason games are taking place without spectators.
My heart-felt gratitude goes to those organizers, local governments, administrators, managers and corporate stakeholders who need to make decisions on the postponement or cancellation of their events across the nation, for their sincere efforts to cope with this hard situation.
As for overseas events, World Triathlon Series (WTS) Abu Dhabi event scheduled for 5-7 March was postponed, being re-scheduled at the moment. It is an important event, where the International Triathlon Union (ITU) Olympic Qualification Points can be earned and thus, the Japanese national team was also scheduled to compete at the event. However, the athletes’ departure was put on hold narrowly in time for their departure times.
The decision whether or not to organize events under the influence of the disease at issue should be based on the policy of the national government and/or the local government. Once, however, it is decided to organize the event, we need to keep a certain distance between individuals, provide antiseptic solutions at places where athletes, staff members and spectators may have a contact, and masks for staff members at least. We also need to remind all the people of the importance to wash their hands frequently. It is important to avoid activities by mass people in confined indoor facility and traveling by jam-packed public transportation system. It is also important that each person who shows up at the event venue takes preventive measures against infectious disease by themselves.
Having only 130 days now before the Tokyo 2020 Games, we are proceeding with the preparations for the scheduled Asian Championships (23-26 April in Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima) and ITU Yokohama World Triathlon Series / Paratriathlon Series (16-17 May) in this year. In order to realize these events, the organizer need to prepare the above-mentioned measures to avoid infection, solicit understanding from the local citizens, and further, the athletes should have a comprehensive understanding of the situation and take preventive measures themselves.
We, as the governing body in Japan, place ultimate priority on the safety and health of athletes (Elite, Age Groupers and Paratriathletes), coaches, staff members, officials, volunteers and spectators. With this in mind, we are scrutinizing the feasibility of the events in cooperation with the host local authorities. Wishing for the earliest possible subsiding of the virus epidemic, we are carefully monitoring unfolding situations together with ITU, ASTC and all the JTU member federations, so that we can enjoy Triathlon with all of us again. Your continued understanding and cooperation would be highly appreciated.
2nd March 2020
President, Japan Triathlon Union