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U.S. track and field team cancels pre-Olympic training in Japan due to COVID concerns

Tokyo – Japanese media reported on Wednesday that the US track and field team had canceled their pre-Olympic training camp in Japan. The apparent decision, which the U.S. Olympic team did not immediately confirm, came as Japan extended its third official state of emergency over the coronavirus pandemic.

Three cities in Chiba Prefecture were scheduled to host around 120 U.S. competitors in July to train ahead of the Games’ opening ceremony on July 23.

Chiba Prefecture Governor Toshihito Kumagai called the cancellation, which he said was prompted by concerns for the safety of the athletes, “unfortunate,” but added that “given the current situation, I think USA Track decided that was the best course of action. “

The British Paralympic wheelchair basketball team and the Russian fencing team have also canceled plans to hold training camps in Chiba.

Japan’s number of severe COVID-19 cases hit a record 1,189 on Wednesday, as the country suffers a fourth wave of infections.

Torch relay kicks off 2021 Japanese Olympics


Japan has recorded just under 700,000 cases since the start of the pandemic, with around 11,000 deaths.

Although the pace of vaccinations has started to pick up, Japan has been particularly slow to receive shots in the arms, even though frontline health workers are not yet fully immunized, and the elderly are just getting started. to get vaccinated.

In this context, a majority of the Japanese population thinks the games should be delayed again – or canceled altogether.

Public concern has also left some large corporate sponsors “in conflict”. A senior executive from Toyota Motor Corp, one such sponsor, told shareholders and media on Wednesday that it was breaking Toyota’s heart “to see the public’s dissatisfaction with the athletes,” the agency said. Reuters press release.

“To be honest, every day we clash over the best course of action,” said Jun Nagata, the automaker’s chief operating officer.

If the leaders of the Tokyo Olympic Planning Committee or the International Olympic Committee are also in conflict, they have tried their best not to show it – remaining adamant that they can host a safe Summer Games, although considerably more restricted.


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