Wed, 16 Jun 2021

RIO DE JANEIRO, May 14 (Xinhua) -- Brazilian athletes, coaches and journalists on Friday began receiving COVID-19 vaccines from China's Sinovac and US firm Pfizer in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics.

Brazil will inoculate round 1,800 people associated with the Olympics and Paralympics, with doses being administered in six cities: Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Fortaleza, Porto Alegre, Brasilia and Belo Horizonte.

"I feel like it gives me protection," said archer Marcus Vinicius D'Almeida. "They blocked my participation in some countries, so now I feel like I can complete my Olympic preparations without worrying about getting sick."

Open water marathon swimmer Ana Marcela Cunha was the first athlete to receive a vaccine dose in Rio de Janeiro.

"For each dose that we are receiving, two doses are being donated. So, in a way, sport is contributing a lot to the well-being of Brazilians," the five-time world champion said.

Other countries to have announced vaccination programs for their Olympic athletes include Germany, Australia, Belgium, Canada, South Korea, Japan, the Netherlands, Hungary, Britain, Israel, Lithuania, Mexico and New Zealand.

The Tokyo Olympics will run from July 23 to August 8, having been postponed by a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 200 Brazilian athletes have already qualified for the Games and the contingent could reach up to 300, according to local officials.

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