Sport Olympics Virus forces daily tweaks to Tokyo Olympics planning
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Virus forces daily tweaks to Tokyo Olympics planning

Some legs of the Tokyo Olympic torch relay have been taken off the public streets. Photo: AP
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Each day seems to bring another challenge for the Tokyo Olympics as surging coronavirus cases in Japan threaten planning for the Games, which are scheduled to begin in about three months.

A leg of the torch relay on Wednesday was moved off the public streets in Matsuyama City in the Japanese prefecture of Ehime.

It was to take place in a city park with “no spectators or stage performances,” an organising committee statement said.

This followed the torch being detoured last week in Osaka – Japan’s second largest metropolitan area – and run only in a city park.

Some legs of the relay will also being taken off the public streets on May 1-2 on Japan’s southern island of Okinawa.

The torch relay will feature a total of 10,000 runners across Japan until it arrives on July 23 at the opening ceremony in Tokyo.

The relay began on March 25 in north-eastern Japan and, though it has run with few incidents, organisers have cautioned that it may need to be rerouted as conditions change.

Osaka and Tokyo were expected to come under new emergency orders this week.

Some test events are also being postponed or rescheduled.

Many that are proceeding are being held without athletes – so-called operational events – or with only Japanese athletes.

A qualifying event from artistic swimming in Tokyo that was first scheduled for earlier in the year, and then pushed back to early May, will now be held outside of Japan in June.

It had to be moved partially because a FINA diving event is to take place in Tokyo on May 1-6 at the new Olympic swimming venue.

Olympic Minister Tamayo Marukawa last week said that all athletes might need to be tested daily.

This change is likely to appear in the second edition of the so-called Playbook, which is to be published by the end of the month.

These guides are put out by the IOC and so far have set out vague rules for 15,400 Olympic and Paralympic athletes and tens of thousands of others to follow when they enter Japan.

Fans from abroad sill not be permitted to attend the Games.

Still unclear is if any local fans will be allowed and if so what will be capacity at venues.

A final edition of Playbook is to be published in June.

-AAP