The IJF Covid Protocol applied and enforced at all IJF events, in co-operation with the Local Organising Committee (LOC) and local authorities, requires that a strict protocol is followed, including the well publicised obligation to provide negative PCR tests, with specific timing prior to entering the event bubbles. This applies to organisers and delegations.
The fundamental principle throughout all IJF events during the COVID-19 pandemic is to protect and be protected by wearing a mask, sanitising, distancing and respecting the protocol put in place. The protocol has been reviewed and updated regularly since the World Judo Tour resumed in October 2020. All participants have the mutual responsibility to protect one another.
All participants (athletes, coaches, officials, referees, international media, VIPs and guests) who enter a country for the purpose of attending an IJF World Judo Tour event, will be permitted to enter the event bubbles only after presenting, on arrival, at least two (2) negative medical PCR COVID-19 test certificates (PCR-1 and PCR-2). It is required to have a PCR test with a negative test result, taken within 72 hours of arrival in Georgia. These two PCR tests MUST be administered a maximum of eight (8) days before arrival and be a minimum of 48 hours apart.
The Tbilisi Grand Slam, taking place this weekend, welcomed 464 athletes and 278 officials from over 80 countries. Everyone had to submit their two negative PCR tests before entering the event bubble, as well as completing health declarations and confirmation that they will abide by the COVID Protocol.
Upon arrival at the bubble each athlete and participant underwent a third PCR test, remaining quarantined while waiting for the negative result. With a negative result confirmed by the medical/testing team, participants are permitted to leave their hotel quarantine and join the event bubble.
In Tbilisi, prior to the event, we had 6 positive cases (3 athletes and 3 coaches) with PCR3 and all were kept in quarantine being monitored for their health, while all their close contacts were placed into quarantine and received another PCR test for safety.
As an additional layer of precaution and in accordance with the COVID Protocol, before each day of competition, the athletes that were competing underwent a 4th PCR test. There were 6 PCR4 positive cases, resulting in the same aforementioned protocols being employed.
Out of over 2500 PCR tests that were administered, a total of 12 cases from PCR3 and PCR4 were positive. While we are closely monitoring the health situation of these cases while they are quarantined, we are also working to verify, with our COVID Manager and local medical authorities, possible false positives for vaccinated athletes.
Participants who need to, will also undergo a departure PCR test.
Before the event started, some national teams, as part or their own programme, travelled to Tbilisi for training. Out of the registered delegates for the event, 15 (12 athletes and 3 coaches) failed their PCR1 or PCR2 tests, required to begin the process of entering the event bubble. In accordance with the rules and Covid protocols, those with positive test results were not allowed to enter the event.
In accordance and collaboration with health authorities in each country where IJF events take place, the highest standard of safety is essential and regulations are followed in order to ensure a safe environment for athletes to compete in. The positive results being identified and actions being taken to quarantine and provide medical services to these participants, is evidence that the system is working.
It is the top priority of the IJF to enforce the COVID Protocol at World Judo Tour events and continue working in close co-operation with national federations, LOCs, local authorities, athletes, officials and partners during this difficult time, because together we can ensure a safe competition environment for all and a continuation of judo activity at the international level.