British athletes competing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be provided with an extra layer of support, after the British Olympic Association (Team GB) and British Paralympic Association (ParalympicsGB) commissioned the British Athletes Commission (BAC) to deliver a 24-hour support line for athletes in Japan.
Complementing the support network provided by Team GB and ParalympicsGB on the ground out in Tokyo, the line will be manned by BAC staff back in the UK, and give athletes an additional, independent avenue through which concerns can be resolved.
The BAC’s comprehensive in-house support resources will allow any issues raised – by any of the approximately 600 athletes due to compete for Great Britain across both Games – to be appropriately and effectively addressed.
Vicki Aggar, Chair of the BAC, said:
“This is a big statement of intent from everyone involved in Olympic and Paralympic sport in Great Britain. In recent years we have seen the issue of athlete welfare take on new significance and importance, and the fact that both Team GB and ParalympicsGB have recognised and proactively addressed the need for athletes to have an independent support system during the Games is hugely encouraging.
“We know that the lead-up to this Games hasn’t been easy for athletes. The pandemic has brought with it a variety of challenges – many of which are still ongoing – and we believe it’s of paramount importance that our athletes have somewhere to turn as and when they need it over in Tokyo, whatever their issue is.
“Our support team here in the UK is ready and waiting to offer independent guidance, assistance and advice to athletes during one of the biggest events of their career, with the BAC’s usual level of comprehensive support still available to those who aren’t travelling to Tokyo, to athletes preparing for next year’s Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, and to Team GB and ParalympicsGB team members on their return.”
Mark England, Chef de Mission for Team GB, said:
“Athletes are not immune to the challenges of everyday life or the pressures that the postponement of the Tokyo Games has brought with it. Helping athletes to be able to perform at their best at the Games is our priority and, therefore, it makes perfect sense for them to have a support outlet of this nature to know that there is independent, impartial help to hand.”
Penny Briscoe, ParalympicsGB Chef de Mission, added:
“The health and wellbeing of all ParalympicsGB team members has been, and continues to be, our number one priority as we prepare for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
“Athlete welfare and support is at the heart of our preparation and planning, and we have a variety of strategies in place to ensure athletes and staff are supported before, during and after the Games. The 24-hour support line is an incredibly valuable addition to this framework and I would like to thank the British Athletes Commission for all their hard work in bringing this to life.”
The Olympic Games begin on July 23 and run until August 8, with the Paralympic Games starting on August 24 and concluding on September 5.