June 22, 2021

Tokyo 2020: United States track and field team cancels pre-Olympic training in Japan

Spread the love
United States athletes celebrate gold in the women's 4x400m relay
The United States won 13 gold medals in athletics at the 2016 Olympic Games

The United States track and field team have cancelled their pre-Olympic training camp in Japan because of concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

Host city Tokyo is under a state of emergency amid a surge in cases, 10 weeks from the start of the Games on 23 July.

American athletes were due to train in nearby Chiba and the local government said “concerns for their athletes’ safety” led to the cancellation.

The US team are yet to comment.

The news comes a day after Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka said she was “not really sure” whether the rescheduled Olympics should go ahead this summer.

A recent poll found that nearly 60% of people in Japan want the Games to be cancelledexternal-link, a fact that may have been exacerbated by the country’s wish to offer donated vaccines to about 2,500 Olympic and Paralympic athletes and support staff to prevent an outbreak during the event.

In Japan, 2.6% of the population has been vaccinated and reports that athletes would be prioritised led to criticism from the public.

“Our officials are saying we’ll make sure we don’t cause trouble for the overall population,” said Miho Kuroda of the Japan Paralympic Committee.

One sponsor has also responded to rising public concern in Japan, with a Toyota Motor Corp executive saying company officials felt “conflicted” over the Games.

“As sponsors, it breaks our heart to see public discontent aimed at athletes,” Toyota’s operating officer Jun Nagata said on Wednesday.