2,000 fans, no cheering: Gymnastics test event in Japan a success ahead of Olympics


By: Express News Service |

November 9, 2020 1:15:04 am

Judges carrying protecting masks watch China’s Ruiyu Zhou’s efficiency on the steadiness beam at Friendship and Solidarity Competition, the primary worldwide event at a Tokyo Olympic venue for the reason that Games had been postponed in March as a result of coronavirus illness (COVID-19) pandemic, in Tokyo, Japan November 8, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Socially-distanced followers, no shouting from the stands, a PCR test each morning and staying contained in the bio-secure bubble: Japan, on Sunday, supplied a glimpse into what subsequent 12 months’s Tokyo Olympics might appear like if a vaccine isn’t accessible by the point the Games are opened on July 23.

The nation hosted an invitational four-nation gymnastics test event, which was attended by 2,000 followers. It was the primary worldwide event to be held in Japan for the reason that Games’ postponement in March as a result of Covid-19 pandemic.

Organisers mentioned the one-off pleasant event was a ‘crucial trial run’ to point out that the Games, which can carry some 11,000 athletes to Tokyo, can go ahead as deliberate.

The invitees

Japan invited 32 gymnasts, eight every from 4 international locations. Besides the hosts, gymnasts from the USA, Russia and China participated. Each nation had been allowed to ship as much as eight athletes however the USA despatched a smaller crew as solely six had been assured of making the journey, Japanese each day Asahi Shimbun reported.

The gymnasts had been divided into two groups – Solidarity and Friendship – regardless of their nationality or gender. There had been no particular person or all-around winners, with the top-three scores on every equipment per crew counting in direction of the ultimate crew rating.

The event was headlined by Japanese star Kohei Uchimura, the two-time Olympic all-around champion. Reigning world champion Nikita Nagornyy and 2019 World Championship bronze medalist Angelina Melnikova, each from Russia, had been additionally there together with Chinese sensations Ma Yue and Yin Dehang, and American World Championship medalist Yul Moldauer.

The protocols

As an exception to the nation’s pandemic laws, the Japanese authorities exempted the travelling contingents from the in any other case obligatory 14-day quarantine. But the opposite guidelines had been strict.

The gymnasts needed to take a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test inside 72 hours earlier than their departure for Japan. They travelled by chartered planes and upon their arrival on the airport, they had been separated from different passengers. The gymnasts and different officers had been straight escorted to the lodge, the place every nation had reserved its personal ground that was monitored by safety guards.

The international locations got separate buses, which had been disinfected every evening, to maneuver between the lodge, coaching base and competitors venue. Shopping requests, if any, had been to be handed to the lodge employees, Asahi mentioned.

Every morning, every particular person associated to the event needed to bear a PCR test. After arriving on the venue, they needed to get their temperature checked and use sanitizers usually. In reality, everybody coming into the venue, together with the two,000 spectators, was sprayed with a disinfectant mist.

On the competitors ground, the gymnasts didn’t share powder chalk.

According to AFP, the spectators needed to put on face masks on Sunday. “They sanitised their hands regularly, checked their body temperature and remained socially distanced at the 8,700-capacity Yoyogi No.1 Gymnasium, while being encouraged not to shout support to avoid spreading droplets,” the company added.

False positives

A couple of medical specialists, in addition to directors of a few sports activities, have remained sceptical about whether or not the Olympics might be held safely if a vaccine isn’t accessible. While the IOC mentioned Sunday’s event has given them a blueprint for subsequent summer season, however the organisers confronted a scare in the build-up to the event and had been left to take care of the issue of a ‘false positive test’.

Days earlier than the event, Uchimura’s participation was in doubt after he examined constructive for Covid-19. However, the 31-year-old returned three unfavorable assessments at three totally different hospitals, main the test event’s medical crew to conclude that the unique end result was a false constructive.

However, for the reason that Japanese star had been practising with the remainder of the crew at Tokyo’s National Training Centre, his ‘positive’ end result pressured the gymnastics coaching areas to be cordoned off whereas his teammates and the teaching employees needed to bear assessments as properly.

Glimpse into the Games

The organisers of the Tokyo Games have hinted that these measures is also utilized on the Olympics. Officials from the organising committee, in addition to the worldwide gymnastics federation, are prone to meet later this week to debate classes discovered from the competitors.

As per experiences, the draft coronavirus countermeasures for the Games counsel that a ‘general principle’ might be adopted to restrict the vary of athletes’ motion to services managed by Tokyo 2020, resembling competitors venues and coaching services, and likewise restrict the use of public transport.

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach was quoted as saying that Sunday’s event was “giving us confidence in our preparations for future events in particular of course with a view to the postponed Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.”

Uchimura, additionally known as ‘King Kohei’, instructed The Japan Times: “I think this event is a good model case for other sports and other athletes. I think we have to go from thinking we can’t hold the Olympics to how can we do it. I really hope we’ll be able to do that somehow.”

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