Diving, volleyball test events open in Tokyo, leg of Olympic torch relay cancelled
Official scolded divers for not physically distancing before men's preliminary event
The Tokyo Olympics torch relay will take another detour this weekend when it enters the southern island of Okinawa.
A leg of the relay on Okinawa's resort island of Miyakojima set for Sunday has been cancelled altogether with coronavirus cases surging in Japan. Other legs on Okinawa will take place.
A 17-day state of emergency went into effect on April 25 in some areas in Japan, which has shut down department stores and bars in Tokyo and the country's second largest metropolis of Osaka.
The relay, which will involve 10,000 runners from every corner of Japan, started six weeks ago and has been mostly on schedule despite major rerouting in Osaka and in Matsuyama City in nearby Ehime prefecture.
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The torch relay — like planning for the postponed Olympics slated to open on July 23 — is filled with uncertainty, constant changes, and questions about why it is taking place, and how it will take place.
Diving and volleyball on Saturday became the first Olympic test events to include international athletes since such competitions resumed last month, as both began under close supervision in Tokyo.
The six-day diving World Cup, also a qualifier for this summer's Games, features more than 200 athletes from 50 countries including powerhouse China, but no fans.
Egyptian diving coach tests positive: report
"We're not allowed out of our rooms, where you have to stay … no outdoor air, no human interaction," said U.S. women's diver Sarah Bacon. "But we've been making it work."
It's unclear how many staff members accompanied the divers.
Contacted by AP, Tokyo organizers said they understand "that the athletes are entering Japan based on the guidelines provided by Japanese swimming federation and approved by FINA."
Japanese news agency Kyodo, citing the Japanese Swimming Federation, said a coach of the Egyptian diving team tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in Japan. It said the rest of the team tested negative.
Organizers say they would decide in June how many fans, if any, will be allowed for the Olympics. Fans from abroad have already been banned.
With around 15,000 Olympians and Paralympians expected to compete in July, organizers are grappling with how to hold the Games safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
4th wave of infections
Japanese authorities are determined to protect not only Games participants, but a local population that opinion surveys have shown is largely opposed to the Olympics due to the virus.
Japan is battling a fourth wave of infections, and the government has declared states of emergency in Tokyo and other areas.
Saturday's volleyball at Ariake Arena involved a friendly between the Japanese and Chinese men's teams followed by the women.
Guo Cheng, captain of the Chinese men's team, said he appreciated the chance to compete and that organizers had done a good job making it happen.
"After we arrived in Japan our food and accommodations were well taken care of and I really felt secure playing in the match," he told reporters after his team lost in five sets to Japan.
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