Tokyo’s divisive Olympic Games don’t officially begin until Friday, but the sporting action has already started.
The Tokyo Games have got off to a winning start for the host nation, with Japan crushing Australia 8-1 in a spectator-less softball clash in Fukushima.
This was the first softball game played at the Olympics in over a decade, after the sport was dropped from the program after the 2008 Games.
Two other softball games, as well as the first of the women’s football matches, are also being played today ahead of the opening ceremony on Friday.
It comes amid widespread domestic opposition to the Games taking place
A majority of Japanese people also don’t believe the Olympics will be “safe and secure”, despite that being promised by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.
68% of respondents to a poll published by the Asahi newspaper this week don’t believe organisers can keep the Games safe.
The first COVID-19 cases amongst competitors staying in the Athletes Village were recorded on the weekend. Games organisers have so far reported 79 infections that are linked to the Olympics.
“Solidarity and determination”
The chief of the World Health Organisation has addressed International Olympic Committee members in Tokyo, telling them “it is my sincere hope the Tokyo Games succeed“.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says “the mark of success…is not zero risk” but “is making sure that any cases are identified, isolated, traced and cared for as quickly as possible and onward transmission is interrupted.”
Doctor Tedros says he hopes these games will “be the moment that unites the world, and ignites the solidarity and determination we need to end the pandemic together”.
Major League Baseball has told a team to stop testing for Coronavirus
A Boston Redsox outfielder said that MLB told his team struggling with COVID-19 to treat symptoms, instead of testing
The Boston Redsox have nine players who have tested positive with coronavirus.
When questioned about the situation on WEEI’s Merloni & Fauria show, Refroe said the league had instructed the team to stop testing for the virus.
“MLB basically told us to stop the testing and just treat the symptoms,” Renfroe said.
“We’re like ‘No. We’re gonna figure out what’s going on and try to keep this thing under control.'”
When the bewildered host asked Renfroe to confirm if Major League Baseball had asked the team to stop testing, he confirmed “yes”.
Major League Baseball quickly released a statement to Julian McWilliams of the Boston Globe saying Renfroe’s claim was incorrect.
“He (Renfroe) is completely wrong and inaccurate.” the statement said.
The Red Sox are currently missing shortstop Xander Bogart, starters Nick Pivetta and Martin Perez, outfielder Jarren Duran, and closer Matt Barnes because of the outbreak.
The Redsox have released a statement saying they have followed league COVID restrictions, and will continue to test. The team is currently under the 85% vaccinated threshold to ease restrictions imposed by the league.
-By Parker McKenzie
North Korea banned from the next Olympics
The ‘Hermit Kingdom’ has been banned from the 2022 Winter Olympics because it skipped the Tokyo games this year
The International Olympics Committee (IOC) announced the suspension of the North Korean Olympic Committee until the end of 2022. The Beijing Winter Olympics will run from the 4th-20th of February, 2022.
IOC president Thomas Bach announced the suspension on Wednesday.
“They were in violation of the Olympic Charter, and did not fulfil their obligation as stated in the Olympic Charter to participate in the games of the Olympiad by sending athletes.” Bach said.
North Korea announced in April that it would skip the games over coronavirus concerns.
Bach said that any athlete who qualifies for the games may be able to compete under a neutral flag, in the same way Russian athletes have competed since the countries doping ban.
“Athletes should not suffer from wrong decisions of their agencies or their officials,” Bach said.
“So there we have kept this door open.”
The International Olympic Committee said that North Korea will forfeit an undisclosed amount of money in financial support.
The decision could influence countries considering boycotting the China based Olympics over concerns of human rights.
When asked about this in response to the IOC helping Afhgan athletes receive visas, Bach downplayed the IOC’s ability to influence the actions of the Chinese government.
“There are limitations in our influence,” the IOC president said.
“It’s to take care of humanitarian issues within the Olympic community. This is what we are doing.”
North Korea had 20 athletes compete at the 2018 winter Olympics in South Korea, winning no medals. They previously sent no competitors to the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014.
-By Parker McKenzie
Good-bye Hamilton? Verstappen takes lead after F1 lead
Max Verstappen has taken the lead in the Formula One driver’s championship after a victory in front of his home fans at the Dutch Grand Prix
The Dutchman converted his pole position to a second consecutive win over Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.
It comes as the Formula 1 season returned to Circuit Zandvoort for the first time since 1985.
Valtteri Bottas finished in third, as an army of fans painted in orange cheered on their home hero.
Verstappen is now three points ahead of Hamilton for the championship, as drivers prepare for next weekend’s race at Monza in Italy.
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