Under close supervision, Tokyo welcomes foreign divers to test event

Diving and volleyball on Saturday turned the primary Olympic test occasions to embody worldwide athletes since such competitions resumed final month, as each obtained underway beneath close supervision in Tokyo.

The diving World Cup, additionally a qualifier for this summer time’s Games, options greater than 200 athletes from 50 international locations together with powerhouse China.

“We’re not allowed out of our rooms, where you have to stay… – no outdoor air, no human interaction,” stated U.S. ladies’s diver Sarah Bacon. “But we’ve been making it work.”

With round 15,000 Olympians and Paralympians anticipated to compete in Japan this summer time, organisers are nonetheless grappling with how to maintain the Games safely in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.

READ|Olympics-Australian divers slam FINA over Tokyo qualifier, withdraw from event

Japanese authorities are decided to defend not solely Games members, however an area inhabitants that opinion surveys have proven is basically opposed to the event held this summer time due to the presence of the virus.

Japan is battling the fourth wave of infections, and the federal government has declared states of emergency in Tokyo and different areas.

During a warm-up earlier than Saturday’s males’s preliminary event, the announcer scolded divers for gathering too intently, thus violating social distancing requirements, across the 3-meter springboard.

The event was additionally punctuated within the morning by an earthquake that shook the cavernous Tokyo Aquatics Centre, a reminder that the Games are happening in one of many world’s most tectonically energetic areas.

Diving athletes and coaches expressed gratitude for the possibility to compete but additionally some frustrations that precautions towards contagion denied them the possibility to expertise town or have some recent air.

READ|Tokyo under ’emergency orders’ with Olympics 3 months away

Participants are present process COVID-19 testing each morning and have to preserve well being info on smartphone apps. Additionally, they’re stored in a “bubble,” proscribing actions between the resort and venue.

“It would have been nice if they could have rented a bus for the team to do some sightseeing around the city,” Patrick Hausding, a silver and bronze medal winner for Germany in two prior Olympics, instructed reporters from behind a glass window.

“To be in Tokyo and not be able to see anything is a real shame.”

The diving event, initially scheduled for April, was in peril of being cancelled amid stories the International Swimming Federation (FINA) was dissatisfied with the Japanese aspect’s COVID-19 countermeasures.

READ|Tokyo 2020 to decide on Olympic spectator limits by end of April

FINA and Tokyo organisers agreed to reschedule it for May 1-6 however the world swim physique cancelled a creative swimming qualifier that was scheduled to be held in Tokyo and moved a marathon swimming qualifier from Fukuoka in southern Japan to Portugal.

In addition, Australia determined to withdraw from diving due to worries about rising coronavirus circumstances in Japan.

Saturday’s volleyball concerned a pleasant between Japan and China.

The Tokyo Olympics, delayed by a yr due to the pandemic, is scheduled to open on July 23.

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