Sport Organisers gauge interest from foreign athletes for Olympic test events

Organisers gauge interest from foreign athletes for Olympic test events

Athletes may gain access to lead-up events for the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Photo: AP
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International athletes could be invited to participate in test events before the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in July, organisers said on Monday.

The events will be a dress rehearsal in how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as organisers host an international sports event during a global pandemic.

“At the moment we are currently gauging how many athletes would like to participate in the test events … We will co-ordinate with the government once we can confirm those numbers,” senior Tokyo 2020 official Yasuo Mori told reporters.

Test events for five competitions, including track and field and the marathon, could involve foreign athletes participating, the organisers said.

Asked what Tokyo 2020 would do with the test events if there were another wave of coronavirus infections, games delivery officer Hidemasa Nakamura said they were “inextricably linked with the domestic and local coronavirus situation.”

Tokyo 2020 is planning 18 test events before the Games begin on July 23.

Test events for skateboarding and shooting were this month postponed from April until May because of the pandemic’s impact on scheduling.

The Olympic Torch relay started last week, with bystanders asked to stay masked, stand apart and clap instead of cheer for torchbearers as organisers try to ease public safety concerns.

Tokyo 2020 organisers have banned international spectators from attending the Games.