This could be the introductory standard paragraph for the reporting of a “normal” World Cup. But we are not in normal times and the competition had to adapt to these very challenging circumstances. The COVID-19 pandemic worldwide situation obliged to the establishment of special and strict sanitary and health measures to allow the organisation of sport events. This diving competition is no exception to this rule, and FINA, together with the Organisers of the event have put in place a “bubble” concept that is proving very efficient during these days in Tokyo.

Athletes, coaches, officials and all participants to this World Cup are limited to their hotel premises (concretely to their room) and to the amazing venue, where they can normally train and compete. Transport is ensured from the accommodation sites to the Aquatics Centre only, and the food is distributed in the hotel and can only be eaten in the room. COVID saliva tests are undertaken on a regular basis, and the pool is also equipped with a room for PCR tests – needed for the departure of the participants and in case a counter-proof is needed after a saliva test is declared non-negative. Finally, a couple of applications is installed in each of the participants’ mobile phone – they are used to check the location and the health condition of all those taking part in the competition. 

On the sport side, nothing substantially changes, with some additional precautions related with some overcrowding on the boards, during warm-up and preparation before the start of each session. Venue-wise, the lack of spectators in the stands is deeply felt, but it is considered a condition in such an environment. Also, wearing masks and keeping social distancing is mandatory in these circumstances. 

Despite these stringent conditions, all athletes are unanimous in one point: they feel safe! While there might be some deception with the fact that sightseeing or any external activity is not allowed, the number one priority remains the successful organisation of the event and the protection of the athletes’ health. FINA spoke with many competitors this week and they are quite philosophical about this “bubble”.

Some examples:

“We need to adapt, everyone needs to cope with these conditions. The main goal for everyone is to be and feel safe, and we are very safe here. We cannot ask for better conditions with this COVID situation” – Jennifer Abel (CAN)


“Given this challenging situation, we can easily understand that the people’s health is the number one priority now…” – Paola Espinosa (MEX)


“I am extremely happy to be able to compete again and to see so many friends I admire. I had a tough year, like everyone else, but always with the hope to return to the pool as soon as it was possible. In the end, we’ve made it and I feel I have all the conditions to compete here in a good shape” – Yona Knight-Wisdom (JAM)


“It’s quite hard to keep a consistent training programme for so long, without having the opportunity to compete. At the end of the day, we train with the goal of competing. So, it’s very good to be here right now, competing, feeling this atmosphere and working on a couple of things that need improvement. So, it was very nice to come to Tokyo and to evaluate where I am at the moment!” – Thomas Daley (GBR)
"FINA did a really good job with all the restrictions. With the test and everything in place, I felt comfortable the entire time. Just glad that we can come here and compete!" – Rylan Wiens (CAN)
"I feel really safe in the hotel, bus, pool and with people using masks" – Randal Willars (MEX)
“For me, this is perfectly OK. At home, we operate pretty much under the same requirements, so it’s easy to adapt. I am also vaccinated, so it helps. But, I feel pretty sure here – all the competitions should be like this. It’s unimaginable otherwise, under these complicated circumstances” – Constantin Popovici (ROU)
“Concerning the conditions of participation, they are strict – and it’s a pity we cannot leave the hotel… – but we have to think that our health should always be the priority. Everyone needs to adapt, but I feel very safe in this so special environment” – Alejandro Solarte (COL)
"There is no 100% safety guarantee, but I feel safe enough" – Christina Wassen (GER)
“The sanitary conditions? As long as we're in the ‘bubble’ we feel safe and we're happy” – Eden Cheng (GBR)
“I am a very extroverted person and I love social contact, so this is somehow challenging for me. But I perfectly understand that this is needed. Moreover, it makes us feel safe, and at the end it’s what counts” – Tanya Watson (IRL)