Olympics: Under close supervision, Tokyo welcomes foreign divers to try out event By Reuters

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© Reuters. FINA Diving World Cup 2021 and Tokyo Olympics 2020 Water Sports Test Event

By Chris Gallagher and Rocky Swift Tokyo, Japan (Reuters) – Scuba diving and volleyball became the first Olympic test events to include international athletes on Saturday since competitions resumed last month, both taking place. under close supervision in Tokyo. The Diving World Cup, also qualifying for this summer’s Games this summer, features more than 200 athletes from 50 countries, including the Chinese powerhouse. “We are not allowed to leave our rooms, where you have to stay … – no outside air, no human interaction,” said American diver Sarah Bacon. “But we have made it work.” With around 15,000 Olympians and Paralympians expected to compete in Japan this summer, organizers are still grappling with how to conduct the Games safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Japanese authorities are determined to protect not only the participants of the Games, but also the local population who, opinion polls have shown, are largely opposed to the event held this summer due to the presence of the virus. Japan is fighting a fourth wave of infections and the government has declared states of emergency in Tokyo and other areas. During a warm-up before Saturday’s men’s preliminary event, the announcer scolded the divers for getting too close, thereby violating social distancing standards, around the 10-foot springboard. The event was also marked in the morning by an earthquake that shook the cavernous Tokyo Aquatic Center, a reminder that the Games are taking place in one of the most tectonically active regions in the world. Athletes and dive coaches expressed gratitude for the opportunity to compete, but also some frustrations that precautions against contagion denied them the opportunity to experience the city or get some fresh air. Participants are tested for COVID-19 every morning and must maintain health information on smartphone apps. In addition, they are kept in a “bubble”, which restricts movements between the hotel and the place. “It would have been nice if they could have hired a bus for the team to take a tour of the city,” Patrick Hausding, a silver and bronze medal winner for Germany in two previous Olympics, told reporters from behind a window. of glass. “Being in Tokyo and not being able to see anything is a real shame.” The diving event, originally scheduled for April, was in danger of being canceled amid reports that the International Swimming Federation (FINA) was dissatisfied with COVID-19 countermeasures from the Japanese side. Organizers at FINA and Tokyo agreed to reschedule for May 1-6, but the world swimming body canceled an artistic swimming classification that was scheduled to take place in Tokyo and moved a marathon swimming classification to Fukuoka, in the south. from Japan to Portugal. In addition, Australia decided to withdraw from diving due to concerns about the increase in coronavirus cases in Japan. Volleyball on Saturday involved a friendly between Japan and China. The Tokyo Olympics, delayed a year due to the pandemic, are scheduled to open on July 23.