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Olympics Today at the Tokyo 2020 belatedly gets under way

Olympics Today at the  Tokyo 2020 belatedly gets under way


Tokyo Olympics: Team GB given clean bill of COVID health i Japan … Wed, 21 Jul 2021 12:00:00 +0100-Softball action got the Games started two days before the Opening Ceremony.

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Today at the Olympics: Tokyo 2020 belatedly gets under way

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Tokyo 2020 got under way with softball action

The rearranged Tokyo Olympics got under way in low-key fashion on Wednesday as Japan’s women’s softball team prevailed over Australia in Fukushima.

Coronavirus continues to cast a shadow over the Games, postponed by 12 months to this summer, and an opening event that was supposed to provide a boost to Fukushima a decade after its nuclear disaster was played in an empty arena.

But it was a winning start nonetheless for the hosts, who emerged 8-1 victors, as softball made its Olympic return for the first time since Beijing 2008. The sport is not on the roster for Paris 2024.

While the opening ceremony is not until Friday, both the softball and women’s football programmes began 48 hours earlier, the latter because of the sheer volume of fixtures.

Picture of the day

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Canada’s Celina Toth practice for the diving 10m platform at Tokyo Aquatics Centre (Mike Egerton/PA)

What’s happened so far today?

The opposition to these Games among the Japanese public has been well publicised and while their fears should not be dismissed, they were given something to smile about as their women’s softball team easily defeated Australia. Minori Naito, Yamato Fujita and Yu Yamamoto all hit home runs for the hosts at the Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium, where the United States later edged out Italy 2-0 while Canada and Mexico face-off later on Wednesday.

Social media moment

What’s coming up today

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Hege Riise has urged her Team GB women’s football side to forget their emotions if they want to win Olympic gold (Mike Egerton/PA)

Team GB’s women’s football team get their campaign under way on Wednesday as they take on Chile at 8.30amBST in Sapporo. Head coach Hege Riise said on the eve of the tournament: “It will be an emotional rollercoaster and how we deal with that individually and as a team will be crucial.” In the other Group E fixture, Japan take on Canada at the same venue. In Group F, China face Brazil while Zambia go up against Holland, both in Rifu, while in Group G, Sweden play the United States and Australia go head-to-head with Antipodean rivals New Zealand. Canada-Mexico concludes the women’s softball action on Wednesday.

Covid update

A Chilean taekwondo player and a Dutch skateboarder have become the first athletes to be ruled out of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after testing positive for coronavirus. Fernanda Aguirre, who was due to compete on Sunday in the same -57kg category as Jade Jones, posted two positive tests after arriving in Tokyo from Uzbekistan. Meanwhile 31-year-old Candy Jacobs, who was due to compete in the women’s street event on Monday, is also out after testing positive.

 

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Tokyo 2020 got under way with softball action

The rearranged Tokyo Olympics got under way in low-key fashion on Wednesday as Japan’s women’s softball team prevailed over Australia in Fukushima.

Coronavirus continues to cast a shadow over the Games, postponed by 12 months to this summer, and an opening event that was supposed to provide a boost to Fukushima a decade after its nuclear disaster was played in an empty arena.

But it was a winning start nonetheless for the hosts, who emerged 8-1 victors, as softball made its Olympic return for the first time since Beijing 2008. The sport is not on the roster for Paris 2024.

While the opening ceremony is not until Friday, both the softball and women’s football programmes began 48 hours earlier, the latter because of the sheer volume of fixtures.

Picture of the day

image
Canada’s Celina Toth practice for the diving 10m platform at Tokyo Aquatics Centre (Mike Egerton/PA)

What’s happened so far today?

The opposition to these Games among the Japanese public has been well publicised and while their fears should not be dismissed, they were given something to smile about as their women’s softball team easily defeated Australia. Minori Naito, Yamato Fujita and Yu Yamamoto all hit home runs for the hosts at the Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium, where the United States later edged out Italy 2-0 while Canada and Mexico face-off later on Wednesday.

Social media moment

What’s coming up today

image
Hege Riise has urged her Team GB women’s football side to forget their emotions if they want to win Olympic gold (Mike Egerton/PA)

Team GB’s women’s football team get their campaign under way on Wednesday as they take on Chile at 8.30amBST in Sapporo. Head coach Hege Riise said on the eve of the tournament: “It will be an emotional rollercoaster and how we deal with that individually and as a team will be crucial.” In the other Group E fixture, Japan take on Canada at the same venue. In Group F, China face Brazil while Zambia go up against Holland, both in Rifu, while in Group G, Sweden play the United States and Australia go head-to-head with Antipodean rivals New Zealand. Canada-Mexico concludes the women’s softball action on Wednesday.

Covid update

A Chilean taekwondo player and a Dutch skateboarder have become the first athletes to be ruled out of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after testing positive for coronavirus. Fernanda Aguirre, who was due to compete on Sunday in the same -57kg category as Jade Jones, posted two positive tests after arriving in Tokyo from Uzbekistan. Meanwhile 31-year-old Candy Jacobs, who was due to compete in the women’s street event on Monday, is also out after testing positive.


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Today at the Olympics: Tokyo 2020 belatedly gets under way Wed, 21 Jul 2021 12:00:00 +0100-Despite protests, COVID infections, and a spectator ban at most of the venues, the organising body says cancellation was "never an option".

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Tokyo Olympics: Team GB given clean bill of COVID health as footballers start with a win

As the Tokyo Olympics finally get underway, Team GB has been given a clean bill of COVID health by its boss.

The athletes were immediately into their stride as the women's football team beat Chile 2-0 in their opening group game in Sapporo. Ellen White scored both goals.

Speaking before the action started, Mark England, Team GB's Chef De Mission, told Sky News they had already notched a victory of sorts (over COVID).

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Image: Team GB's Ellen White (C), who scored both goals, seen in the second half of the 2-0 win over Chile in Sapporo. Pic: AP

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Image: There is a spectator ban at almost all of the Olympic venues. Pic: Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Network

He said: “We have just shy of 800 athletes and team officials in country and not one has presented a positive test. And that is absolute testament to everything that we've done in the fortnight before.

“My sense is that it would be extraordinary if a British athlete tested positive coming into the Olympic environment, primarily because outside of this testing protocols are significant.

“That's not to say that it is a guarantee, and that's why absolutely everybody is on a daily basis, is working really, really hard to make sure that that does not happen.”

He also confirmed that the six Team GB athletes who were close contacts of somebody on their flight into Japan who tested positive should be able to compete in their events and are back in training.

“The athletes concerned can still go to our preparation camp training environment,” he said. “They can still train with the team as long as they adhere to social distancing as we are.

“And they can still, for those of them who are in the relay environment, they can still actually pass the baton.”

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Image: The host nation's softball team got things started against Australia in Fukushima

Others were less fortunate, with Mexican baseball players Héctor Velázquez and Sammy Solís testing positive for COVID-19 and have been isolated at their rooms in the team hotel in Mexico City.

Earlier, Fernanda Aguirre, a Chilean taekwondo competitor and a Candy Jacobs, a Dutch skateboarder, tested positive.

Aguirre said on Instagram she was “devastated”, adding “it's something that angers me a lot and I feel it's just unfair that my dream is crushed after so much sacrifice.”

Jacobs described herself as “heartbroken”.

The Games, which many feared would be cancelled altogether, are going ahead after a year-long delay, despite ongoing protests in Japan, COVID-19 infections inside the Athletes' Village and a spectator ban at almost all venues.

The host nation's softball team got things started by thrashing Australia in Fukushima, the part of Japan devastated by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

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Team GB boxer pretended to be a boy to train

The opening ceremony takes place on Friday in Tokyo but because there are so many games in softball/baseball and women's football, those events start early.

Organisers have acknowledged that they cannot rule out significant disruption to the schedule or even cancelling the Games at this late stage.

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But they are confident they have everything in place to deal with the COVID-19 problems that will almost inevitably arise.

So far, more than 70 Games participants who have arrived in Japan have tested positive – some of them inside the Olympic Village, which is supposed to be an ultra-safe environment.

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Tokyo 2020 will be unlike any Games before

Olympics organisers have been trying hard to convince the Japanese people and the competitors that Tokyo 2020 is as safe as it can be. Tokyo is already under a state of emergency due to rising infection numbers.

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach has revealed that organisers had “sleepless nights” when they were deciding whether or not to go ahead.

He said: “Cancellation would have been easy. We could have drawn on the insurance policies we had taken out. But in fact, cancellation was never an option for us.

“The IOC never abandons the athletes.”

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Image: Team GB weightlifters Emily Campbell, Sarah Davies, Zoe Smith, and Emily Muskett

Team GB weightlifter Emily Muskett told Sky News the restrictions and daily testing are just something the athletes are getting on with.

“It is the way of the world at the moment,” she said.

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Four British women who may make history in Tokyo

“We are used to it… we are used to protecting ourselves and competing in this environment.

“I'm just so glad it has gone ahead because there was a chance that it was going to be cancelled again. We don't mind wearing masks and doing all these tests because we are achieving our dreams.”

The postponement of last summer's event is estimated to have cost the organisers £2.5bn.

As for this year's attempt, expect empty stadiums, unpredictable competitions, moments of intense sporting drama and the constant threat of COVID-19 disrupting the plans.


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– July 21, 2021
Olympics Today at the Tokyo 2020 belatedly gets under way

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