Tokyo 2020 reports first cases of athletes in village testing positive

Tokyo Olympics organisers yesterday reported the first Covid-19 cases among competitors residing in the athletes' village, as its population swells ahead of the start of the pandemic-hit Games on Friday.

Two athletes from the same country and competing in the same sport staying in the village in the Harumi waterfront district tested positive for the virus, organisers said without providing further details.

At least 10 new Covid-19 cases connected to the Olympics were reported yesterday, including a third athlete who was not staying in the village, down from 15 new cases a day earlier.

South Africa's Sevens rugby coach Neil Powell also tested positive, a fourth confirmed infection for the country ahead of the Olympics. Powell tested positive on arrival in Japan and is in isolation in Kagashima where the Sevens squad are at a pre-Games training camp.

It follows the confirmation earlier yesterday that two players and a team official from South Africa's football team had also returned positive tests.

Defender Thabiso Monyane and winger Kamohelo Mahlatsi, as well as video analyst Mario Masha, are also in isolation as the team prepare to face hosts Japan in their opener on Thursday.

It was not immediately clear if those cases were identified as part of the same testing programme.

An International Olympic Committee member from South Korea also tested positive for the coronavirus on landing in Tokyo. He is Ryu Seung-min, a former Olympic table tennis champion, who is vaccinated.

The new infections are testing the layered testing regimen designed to ensure Covid-19 cases are quickly caught and isolated. Proponents argue that the growing number of cases underscores the strength of the testing system.

Infection rates are climbing among Tokyo's general population, topping 1,000 new cases for five consecutive days.

Polls show many Japanese oppose holding the Games with the influx of overseas visitors they entail.

British swimmer Adam Peaty said there is no right answer to questions on the Tokyo Games taking place during the Covid-19 crisis. But he is among the "biased" athletes who want the event to happen and is taking every precaution to compete.

The 26-year-old has taken both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine and also wears double masks.

"You're never going to get the right answer, he told the Guardian.

"I'm biased because I want them to happen, I want to race. But I can feel for those who don't want the Games to happen at all." - REUTERS