Tokyo Olympics: Lord Coe issues warning over UK athletics
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The Olympic Games could be cancelled at the last minute due to a rising number of coronavirus cases among athletes. Head of the organising committee Toshiro Muto said he will keep an eye on developments and has refused to rule out scrapping the Games.
A total of 67 people associated with the games have now tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the Games opening on Friday.
This year’s Olympics will be held behind closed doors due to an outbreak of Covid cases in Tokyo.
Earlier this month, Tokyo entered into a state of emergency, leading to fears the Games could be scrapped for a second successive year.
Now, just hours before the first official event begins, Muto has confirmed it may have to be postponed again if cases continue to rise.
“We can’t predict what will happen with the number of coronavirus cases,” Muto said in a press conference.
“So we will continue discussions if there is a spike in cases. We have agreed that based on the coronavirus situation, we will convene five-party talks again.
“At this point, the coronavirus cases may rise or fall, so we will think about what we should do when the situation arises.”
Six British Olympic Association athletes and two staff members from the athletics team were on Sunday identified as close contacts of an individual who has tested positive.
The individual is not from the Team GB delegation and instead a member of the public. The athletes had to self-isolate in their rooms before returning to training after multiple negative PCR tests.
Team GB’s Chef de Mission, Mark England, said: “This is disappointing news for the athletes and staff but we absolutely respect the protocols in place.
“We will offer them every support during this period and we are hopeful that they will be able to resume training again soon.”
While Team GB athlete Taylor Campbell, who will compete in the hammer throw, said: “I’m on a flight now with GB members and instead of putting us together at the back of the flight we are mixed among the public.
“We asked at the desk to be moved next to other team members onto empty rows but weren’t allowed to change our seat.
“We have trained hard to get in this position to now risk it all on something out of our control.”
While Games chief Seiko Hashimoto admitted he understands why athletes will be concerned about contracting Covid.
He said: “Athletes who are coming to Japan are probably very worried. I understand that.
“We are doing everything to prevent any Covid outbreaks. If we end up with an outbreak we will make sure we have a plan in place to respond.”
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