Pole vault champion Sam Kendricks tests positive for Covid-19

Pole vaulters Sam Kendricks of the US and German Chiaraviglio of Argentina were ruled out of the Olympics yesterday after testing positive for Covid-19.

United States Olympic and athletics officials confirmed yesterday that Kendricks, a two-time world champion, had tested positive.

They tweeted: "In alignment with local rules and protocols he has been transferred to a hotel to be placed in isolation and is being supported by the USATF and USOPC staff."

The immediate knock-on effect of Kendricks' diagnosis was that members of the Australian team were forced to isolate in their rooms as a precaution.

However, most resumed normal activities later yesterday after negative tests were confirmed.

The Australian Olympic Committee said that three members, who were close contacts of Kendricks, will remain in isolation and will be tested daily although they had already returned negative tests.

Forty-one athletes and 13 officials were given the "all-clear" after spending just over two hours in their rooms at the Olympic Village.

Swedish world record-holder Armand Duplantis said yesterday that he did not meet Kendricks.

"I have been super lucky just not to have come into contact with him," he said. "All the pole vaulters are pretty spooked out right now."

Duplantis added that he had plans to meet Kendricks on Wednesday but that did not happen. "So that was a pretty lucky dodge right there," he said.

"We are all pretty spooked out right now. It's been a weird hour for sure."

Chiaraviglio confirmed on social media that he was out of the Games as well, and was isolating in a hotel.

Games procedures state that athletes who are contact-traced and have not competed are isolated from the rest of the squad.

They then have to be tested six hours before their competition and must return a negative result in order to compete.

The athletics programme begins today, with the pole vault qualifying event tomorrow.

Kendricks won the world title in 2017 and 2019 and Olympic bronze in Rio 2016. His battle with Duplantis had been expected to be one of the highlights of the track and field programme. - AFP, REUTERS