what is planned to accommodate the children of athletes

The urgent appeal of the athletes of the French team, mothers of young children, has been heard. Monday February 26, during a press conference, the secretary general of the French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF) announced the system that will be put in place to allow these athletes to see their babies during the fortnight of competitions . Rooms are reserved at the H4 Hotel Wyndham Paris Pleyel, in Saint-Denis (Seine-Saint-Denis), near the Olympic village, for mothers breastfeeding their little ones: they will be accommodated there, as well as the person accompanying the child. Furthermore, a 100 square meter “family space” will be set up in this same establishment so that parents – athletes and their teams – can spend time with their little ones. Vehicles will shuttle to take athletes there from their training and resting places.

The rule of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) remains unchanged: no non-accredited person can sleep within the village. The apartments in the said village accommodate six to eight athletes, the organizers argue that the presence of very young children is not possible in spaces which are those of concentration and recovery. Nevertheless, they were keen to respond to increasingly pressing demands: “We sought to preserve a family cocoon which is part of the balance of athletes and allows performance. Society is moving and this meets a need of our athletes”, assures Astrid Guyart, general secretary of the CNOSF. The system will be put in place as soon as the village opens on July 18.

The French Paralympic and Sports Committee (CPSF) has also announced adjustment measures: under 1 year of age, breastfed babies will be able to meet their mother twice a day, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. A “guest pass” for access to the village will be reserved for them, as well as for the accompanying person. This exemption will also be possible for 0 to 3 year olds in the event of “specific need” of the child (late breastfeeding or disability). Accommodation outside the village, supported by the Paralympic committee, will be made available in cases where the parent-child bond is judged “primordial”. For others, a special area will be made available within the Club France located in La Villette, in the 19e district of Paris. During the Paralympic Games, vehicles will shuttle from the athletes’ village.

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The CPSF system is more flexible and permissive in order to take into account the specificities of para-sports. “Our measures respect the uniqueness of our Games: we wanted to limit the fatigue of the athletes and take into consideration the importance of the child’s bond with his mother”explains Marie-Amélie Le Fur, president of the Paralympic Committee.

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