The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) has released medical guidelines for all future international gymnastics events set to take place during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As countries and athletes prepare to return to the international stage, outlined medical and social measures are necessary to mitigate the risks of COVID-19.
The “Medical Guidelines for FIG Competitions and Events During the COVID-19 Pandemic” document is a thorough 13-page document that covers everything from planning (including detailed risk assessment tools, government permission, preparation of venues, etc.) to post-competition health checks.
While at the training venue and on the field of play (FOP), the FIG will require all participants, judges, and officials to take standard precautionary measures, including temperature checks upon entering the venue(s), frequent hand-washing, wearing masks or face coverings at all times, and keeping a physical distance of at least 1.5 metres (approx. 5 feet). Per the guidelines, “The only situation in which safety distance does not have to be respected is when a coach provides assistance (catch, lead, spotting) during an athlete’s performance.”
Gymnasts will not be required to wear a mask or face covering while they are performing at either the training venue or on the FOP, but they will be expected to abide by the above rules, including distancing, whenever possible.
The FIG is requesting gymnasts and coaches avoid “risky habits” on the FOP, including:
- Spitting on the hands before performances
- Shaking hands with or hugging others
- Sharing magnesium carbonate with others. Depending on the discipline, the use of liquid chalk (70%–80% alcohol) instead of classical magnesium carbonate is recommended
- Any more close physical interaction than absolutely necessary between gymnasts and coaches
One measure that may take some getting used to by delegations is the requirement that everything used for the preparation of equipment must be provided by the LOC. Delegations will not be able to use other aids they brought themselves (honey, hairspray, sugar water, etc.). A separate kit must be provided for each training group.
Medal ceremonies and the mixed zone may also look different for the near future. The federation is recommending virtual ceremonies and online interviews in open spaces to reduce physical contact. That being said, accredited media will still be allowed at events as long as they comply with the laws and regulations set by the government of the host country.
You can read the FIG’s full 13-page medical guidelines document here.