Olympics Tokyo Team GB given clean bill of COVID health in Japan

Olympics Tokyo  Team GB given clean bill of COVID health in Japan
Amber Hill

Green hydrogen to star at Tokyo Olympics, but not at the scale … 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".


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

As the Tokyo Olympics finally get under way, Team GB's athletes in Japan have been given a clean bill of COVID health by the team's boss.

Mark England, Team GB's Chef De Mission, told Sky News that due to the stringent protocols around his athletes, it would have been “extraordinary” if anyone from Team GB tested positive for COVID.

The opening ceremony for the Games takes place on Friday in Tokyo but because there are so many fixtures in softball/baseball and women's football, those events have started early.

Team GB have tasted early success in the women's football, beating Chile 2-0 in their opening group game.

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

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

Mr England 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.”

As if to emphasis the lack of certainty, Amber Hill, a British shooter has withdrawn after testing positive for COVID-19 in the UK before leaving for Japan.

Hill, 23, a finalist in the Women's Skeet at Rio 2016, is the current world number one and said she was “absolutely devastated. I will be back from this, but right now I need some time to reflect and take in what has happened”.

Mr England 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.

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

“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.”

Others have been less fortunate, with two Mexican baseball players, a Chilean taekwondo competitor and a Dutch skateboarder, testing positive.

Chile's Fernanda Aguirre said on Instagram: “It's something that angers me a lot and I feel it's just unfair that my dream is crushed after so much sacrifice.”

It comes as Tokyo, currently under its fourth state of emergency, hit a six-month high of 1,832 new coronavirus infections.

Only about 23% of Japanese people are fully vaccinated.

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Team GB boxer pretended to be a boy to train

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.

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.

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Tokyo 2020 will be unlike any Games before

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.

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.

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

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

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Four British women who may make history in Tokyo

She said: “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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Tokyo Olympics: Team GB given clean bill of COVID health in Japan … Wed, 21 Jul 2021 12:00:00 +0100-Initial plans to fuel the Olympic village with H2 and shuttle athletes to venues on 100 fuel-cell buses have been quietly dropped.


Green hydrogen to star at Tokyo Olympics, but not at the scale originally envisaged

July 21, 2021

It has been billed as the ‘Hydrogen Olympics’, but organisers of the delayed 2020 Tokyo games — which officially begins on Friday — have had to significantly scale back their original plans for the widespread use of the clean-burning gas.

Organisers had intended multiple uses of hydrogen: to power the Olympic village; to shuttle athletes to venues using 100 H2-powered fuel-cell buses, to move officials and staff around in 500 hydrogen cars; and to fuel the Olympic cauldron and the torches used in the ceremonious pre-Olympics relay around Japan.

But in the end, the only parts of the plan that are still going ahead are the use of green hydrogen for the cauldrons (there will be two) — which will be produced from solar energy in Fukushima province — and for the 500 fuel-cell cars supplied by sponsor Toyota. Hydrogen was also used for “some” of the Olympic torches, with the rest fuelled by propane gas.

A spokesperson for the Tokyo 2020 organisers tells Recharge: “Athletes will be transported on traditionally fuelled buses provided by bus companies from across Japan, whereas Worldwide Olympic Partner Toyota has supplied approximately 500 Mirai fuel cell vehicles to the Games to help transport other Games staff and officials. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has also introduced 100 fuel cell buses (FCBs) for public use in the metropolitan area.”

Only one building at the Olympic village will be fuelled by hydrogen-powered electricity, the “Relaxation House” where athletes can rest and recharge, the spokesperson says, adding that a hydrogen fuelling station was opened in October 2020 in Harumi, the Tokyo district that is home to the Olympic village.

“The station will be one of multiple locations for refuelling fuel cell vehicles that are part of the Games fleet. The station will be moved to a different location after the Games and continue operating as part of the Games’ legacy.”

Despite the reduced use of hydrogen at the athletes' village, the spokesperson adds: “After the Games, the area will serve as a model for the realisation of a hydrogen society.”

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– July 21, 2021
Olympics Tokyo Team GB given clean bill of COVID health in Japan
Amber Hill

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