Covid-19 restrictions take yet another casualty, with the cancellation of the highly anticipated celebration for Waipā District's Olympians and Paralympians.
Tokyo 2020's Waipā-based Olympians and Paralympians will miss the long-awaited 'welcome home' celebration for the first time since the district started holding the community event in the early 2000s.
The 'Welcome Home' event is held in celebration of the enormous effort the athletes put into preparing and training for the Olympics.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics were held earlier this year after the Covid-19 pandemic derailed the Olympic event in 2020.
Waipā District Mayor Jim Mylchreest says the home of champions takes pride in celebrating these local athletes with the community but this year Covid-19 has negatively impacted plans.
"Time is not on our side this year. Planning stages were pushed out with athletes having to quarantine following travel, so council considered joining an event with the existing Great Summer Kiwi Expo," says Jim.
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"After the latest lockdown in August, we are still grappling with the restrictions and are in a place of uncertainty around public gatherings as we head into October. We now have scheduling challenges as athletes begin to head back into competitions and training camps, so the tough call has been made not to host an event this time."
"We're proud to be Waipā Home of Champions and we appreciate the amount of effort, sacrifice and challenges our athletes and their teams have faced this year. We know our communities were proud of their efforts during the games too."
The Waipā Home of Champions moniker is well-earned, with Olympian training grounds at the Avantidrome, Lake Karāpiro and thoroughbred studs located close to Cambridge.
Along with the welcome home event, the council has also had to put a hold on any citizenship ceremonies since August.