The Australian softball team on Tuesday were the first athletes to land at the Tokyo Olympics in Japan, with controversy being the most important milestone for the delayed Games, as controversy remains. The “Aussie Spirit” team was touched at the local outer Narita airport along with their assistants and immediately taken for coronavirus testing. Wearing sports masks and wearing green and gold uniforms, they found sports caps adorned with Olympic and Paralympic mascots. They gestured to the cameras and took selfies before the tests filled out the papers.
Everyone in the delegation has been vaccinated, but they are still undergoing testing before and before departure, and will face drastic restrictions during their stay.
The arrival will be a boost for the ongoing public opposition and the organizers who question whether the Games can move forward.
Much of Japan, including Tokyo, is under a viral state of emergency, and surveys largely show that most Japanese want to delay or cancel the Games further.
Organizers say specific virus rulebooks will keep participants and the public safe and warn that about 80 percent of those in the Olympic Village will be vaccinated.
The Australian softball team said they were ready to comply with the rules and were happy to play again after the Pandemic break. Some believe that Tokyo 2020 may be the last shot at the Olympic Glory, which softball does not appear in Paris 2024.
“We know it’s going to be a pretty long trip, we know we’re going to do a lot of Covid tests,” said player Jade Wall, as the Squads prepared to leave Sydney.
“But look, we’re all ready for that. We want to do everything we can to make sure we’re safe when we get there and that we’re safe even while we’re in Japan.”
Vaccines for Japanese athletes
The group will travel directly from the airport to the Ota City Training Base, about 100 kilometers (about 60 miles) north of Tokyo.
The rules will be strict. No family members are allowed, they will only go with the Management with 10 employees.
The entire delegation will be kept on a single floor of the hotel to sleep, eat and work out in the gym.
“The only reason (they) leave the hotel is to go back and forth to the pelota court. They will have less contact with the public every day than the Australians,” said David Pryles, Australia’s softball general manager.
But the trip is still a “tremendous” moment for the team, as the pandemic disrupted Olympic preparations and they have not played together since February 2020, he told AFP.
The team will play local teams and the Athletes will win 15 women’s side on July 17 before heading to the Olympic Village.
The first match – against the hosts – will kick off the Olympic competition on July 21, two days before the opening ceremony.
Many Japanese cities have dismantled training camps for Olympic sports venues due to fears of viruses.
But Otta Mayor Masayoshi Shimizu told reporters on Monday that the city is proud to “offer support to show our friendship” and maintain long-standing relations with Australia.
As a result of another push for the Games, vaccinations for the Japanese Olympic Athletes will begin on Tuesday.
They will be jumping in line because the slow comparison of Japanese vaccines so far only applies to medical staff and the elderly.
Just over seven percent of people in Japan have received the first dose so far, about 2.5 percent fully embedded, although the pace has picked up in recent days.
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