Sport Australian athletics team receives the all clear after Sam Kendricks scare
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Australian athletics team receives the all clear after Sam Kendricks scare

Sam Kendricks, who tested positive, warms up for the Diamond League meeting in Stockholm on July 4. Photo: AFP/Getty
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Three members of the Australian Olympic track and field team have returned negative COVID-19 tests after having contact with leading US pole vaulter Sam Kendricks, who has been ruled out of the Tokyo Games.

Forty one Australian athletes and 13 officials were ordered to isolate in the village as a precautionary measure on Thursday after the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee confirmed Kendricks had tested positive to coronavirus.

Three of the Australian athletes – all of whom were vaccinated – underwent tests after self-reporting casual contact with Kendricks.

“The three team members tested this afternoon are now in isolation and will be tested daily,” the Australian Olympic Committee said in a statement.

“They will be allowed to resume training, subject to strict protocols that restricts their contact with others.

“At this stage all athletes are expected to compete as planned.”

The other members of the team have been given the all-clear to resume normal duties after spending two hours in isolation.

The track and field program begins on Friday morning with 11 Australians in action on the opening day at Tokyo Stadium.

“Once again, abundant caution and our strict protocols continue to keep the team safe,” said Australian team chef de mission Ian Chesterman.

“We will continue to be very thorough in our observance of the Tokyo playbooks and our own additional measures.

“We want every Australian athlete to be in a position to have their Olympic moment. We will continue to be vigilant.”

Kendricks, 28, won the bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics and took gold at the past two world championships.

His battle with world record holder Mondo Duplantis of Sweden was expected to have been one of the highlights of the track and field program.

Another pole vaulter, Argentina’s German Chiaraviglio, said in a social media post that he had tested positive and would not compete.

Olympics organisers earlier on Thursday announced 24 new coronavirus cases related to the Tokyo Games in their daily report.

It was the highest daily increase of cases linked to the Games since organisers began reporting cases on July 1.

A total of 20 athletes have been infected so far.

The latest numbers bring the total number of positive tests linked to the Olympics to 193.

Amid growing criticism of the quarantine conditions for athletes testing positive, International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athletes’ Commission chair Kirsty Coventry admitted improvement was needed.

“We have been working very closely with Tokyo 2020 and are working on improving on all of those experiences,” Coventry said.

Japan’s capital is under a state of emergency for the duration of the Games, and Olympic competition takes place behind closed doors at all local venues.

-AAP