Olympics officials prepare for test events

Stephen Wade
·1-min read

Tokyo Olympics organisers are encouraged by a gymnastics meet at the weekend and are now ready to hold test events early next year.

The Sunday meet featured 22 Russian, Chinese and American athletes entering Japan and competing in Tokyo with a few thousand fans attending.

Hidemasa Nakamura, the Tokyo Olympic games delivery officer, told an on-line briefing that plans are now in the works for more test events starting in March.

However, he did not say what form these might take or if non-Japanese athletes would be involved.

"We are discussing how to deal with COVID-19 together with the Japanese government and Tokyo Metropolitan Government," he said.

"From the beginning of next year we will begin operations and proceed to have test events in March."

Holding the postponed Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics will be far more difficult than a one-day event with a few dozen athletes.

Reports said no staff or athletes tested positive for the virus at the meet.

The gymnasts who entered Japan first faced a quarantine at home.

In Tokyo, they were isolated in hotel rooms, not allowed out for tourism, and tested daily for COVID-19.

Tokyo Olympic officials, the International Olympic Committee, and the Japanese government are trying to convince the world that the postponed Games can open on July 23 despite so much uncertainty in the ongoing pandemic.

IOC President Thomas Bach is expected in Tokyo later this month to drive home the point, particularly with the public and with local sponsors who have put up more than $US3 billion ($4.1 billion) to run the Games.

Bach cancelled a trip last month to South Korea because of the virus' resurgence in Europe.