Arnold Brons has a kind face, halfway between the favourite grandfather and Santa Claus. His sense of humour is disarming and he walks around the room with kind gestures and a lot of patience.
Arnold is a member of the IJF Medical Commission. Here in Doha, he was the doctor in charge of all medical aspects, not only the Covid-related ones. That is why we wanted to talk to him.
As doctor and an IJF medical commissioner, he looks after all the medical regulations and the medical staff who are present during the event.
Everything must be executed according to the book, according to regulations. He is also the contact for antidoping.
“In Doha I have those normal duties and the Covid-related issues,” Arnold explains. “We have put in place a very strong protocol because our only concern is to keep Covid-19 outside. We made the rules and protocol to enable judo to start again. It is very strict. As IJF Covid Manager, I am the person in between the local Covid Manager and the IJF. Every team must also have its own Covid Manager. We are making sure that all paperwork is in order and that information is clear and understandable.”
For instance, he needs to know immediately if there is any positive case. He checks the bubbles to make sure that everyone wears the mask and uses hydroalcoholic gel and makes many other checks. But he is not alone and, as he confirms, he is surrounded by truly professional people.
“In Doha the medical staff were very good indeed. There is only one lab in the country that can process all the PCR tests, but they were really effective.”
Here comes the key to success. “What we have to understand is that we have to continuously adapt to the situation.” Perfect, because it is what judo does.
“Our Covid rules are not fixed forever. We have to follow the situation closely to adapt them. It is an ever-changing learning process. It will change again for the next event. I can say that our bubble system really works. It is hard for everyone, but this is for good reasons. We need to keep up the good work and the high standards, but it works and it works well.”
When a doctor says that things are working and that they are going well it is because it is true and in medicine good news always leads to something excellent.