Tokyo 2020 sports director Mikako Kotani said athletes should be wary of the rules even after competing at the Games ©Tokyo 2020

Athletes competing at the postponed Olympic and Paralympic Games next year should not "let their guard down" when they return to the Athletes' Village after finishing their event, Tokyo 2020 sports director Mikako Kotani has warned.

Competitors at the Games will be told to limit their stay at the Athletes Village where possible to reduce the risks posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Athletes are also likely to be told to remain in the Village and will be encouraged not to go out sightseeing as part of efforts from organisers to ensure it is the "safest place in Tokyo".

Kotani, a double Olympic bronze medallist who took over from Koji Murofushi as Tokyo 2020 sports director in September, said it will be important for all athletes to observe the rules that will be in place during the rearranged Games, including wearing of face masks and social distancing.

"For many athletes, the Olympic and Paralympic Games is their ultimate goal," Kotani said.

"They maintain their motivation until it’s their turn to compete, but once it’s over and they return to the Athletes’ Village, they might let their guard down. 

"There will be rules established, of course, but we need to send a clear message to all the athletes who gather in Tokyo from around the world and have them understand that it is currently important to wear a mask throughout their stay in Tokyo. 

"It is important to observe the rules, not only for their own safety but for the safety of other athletes who are waiting for their turn to compete."

Organisers have vowed to ensure the Athletes' Village is the safest place in Tokyo during the Games ©Getty Images
Organisers have vowed to ensure the Athletes' Village is the safest place in Tokyo during the Games ©Getty Images

Participants are set to be tested every four to five days at Tokyo 2020, while overseas athletes will need to provide a negative COVID-19 test taken 72 hours or less before departure as part of countermeasures that will be implemented at the Olympics and Paralympics.

An interim report on measures was presented by the Organising Committee last week.

"With regards to the measures we will implement, we must do everything we possibly can," Kotani added.

"This will give athletes a sense of relief that they are being protected. 

"We should also envelop those measures with our warm hospitality and our smiles to ease the tension. 

"The specific measures will ensure safety, and the intangible support will make the athletes feel safe. 

"By balancing these two wheels, we will be able to provide a safe and comfortable Games environment for the athletes."

Tokyo 2020 last week claimed the postponement of the Olympic Games will cost $2.8 billion (£2 billion/€2.3 billion).

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government will reportedly pay $1.1 billion (£820 million/€900 million), with the Organising Committee contributing $1 billion (£740 million/€820 million).

The remaining $700 million (£520 million/€575 million) would be covered by the Japanese Government.