Officials refuse to rule out 11th hour cancellation of Games

·35-min read
tokyo 2020 olympics team gb coronavirus isolation live - Behrouz MEHRI /AFP
tokyo 2020 olympics team gb coronavirus isolation live - Behrouz MEHRI /AFP

The head of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee has refused to rule out cancelling the Games at the 11th hour amid mounting worries over surging Covid-19 cases.

Toshiro Muto delivered the stark warning after a public health expert warned the bubble system at the Athletes Village was already "broken". An American gymnast and a Czech beach volleyball player were among the latest positive tests as Games-related infections reached 71.

The prospect of cancelling the multi-billion pound games three days from Friday's opening ceremony is all-but-unthinkable for the International Olympic Committee, but Muto, who has close links to Japan's ruling party, sounded caution on Tuesday.

When asked at a news conference if the Games might yet be scrapped, Muto said he would keep an eye on infection numbers and hold discussions with organisers if necessary.

"We can't predict what will happen with the number of coronavirus cases," he added. "So we will continue discussions if there is a spike in cases. We have agreed that based on the coronavirus situation, we will convene five-party talks again. At this point, the coronavirus cases may rise or fall, so we will think about what we should do when the situation arises."

Muto was talking at a separate press conference on Tuesday as one held by the IOC in which officials attempted to reassure the world that the Games remained on track. Mark Adams, the IOC communications director, said the number of positive tests was not unexpected, given 30,000 people, including media and other stakeholders, had already travelled to the Games.

Japan this month decided that participants would compete in empty venues to minimise the risk of further infections. Muto, a former financial bureaucrat, has been careful in his assessments, while organisers are facing a domestic public angry about coronavirus restrictions and concerned over a possible spike in cases triggered by Games attendees arriving from abroad.

Positive tests for United States gymnastics alternate Kara Eaker and Czech team member Ondřej Perušič originally surfaced on Monday, while organisers confirmed on Tuesday that another athlete at the village and eight other people related to the Games had also tested positive.

“It’s obvious that the bubble system is kind of broken,” said Kenji Shibuya, the former director of the Institute for Population Health at King’s College London. “My biggest concern is, of course, there will be a cluster of infections in the village or some of the accommodation and interaction with local people,” he said.

About 11,000 athletes are expected to stay in the village, but Brian McCloskey, a health expert advising the International Olympic Committee, said the athletes’ village was safe because people staying there were being tested for the virus on a regular basis.

IOC official Adams also played down Covid worries as he insisted that relations with worried officials within Government and the local organising committee were good. "These people are working under incredibly tough conditions, and I know the organising committee are working every hour that God sends them, and for that we thank them very much," he said.

He added, however, that "we understand" the concern of a Japanese population, with polls consistently showing 60 per cent want the Games abandoned.

"These are difficult times," he said. "But we reassure them again that everything has been done....The level of testing, the playbooks, are not very easy to deal with but it's important that we do all follow the rules. We can give them a level of satisfaction that everything is being done by us that there'll be safe and secure Games."

In addition to infection concerns, athletes - including Team GB women's footballers who begin their campaign on Wednesday - are preparing for what could be the hottest Olympics on record.

Concerns were heightened on Monday when beach volleyball players had to halt their practice at the Shiokaze Park stadium because the sand was too hot for their bare feet. Staff had to hose the sand down before the players could return to the court.

The temperature in Tokyo reached 34 degrees but was above 37 degrees in Iwate Prefecture, north of the capital. Temperatures are being exacerbated by similarly high levels of energy-sapping humidity, which on Monday reached 85 percent in Tokyo.

The weather is set to dip moderately in temperature in Tokyo by Monday, however, with thunderstorms heading towards Japan bringing bursts of rain next week.

01:30 PM

Organisers concentrating '100%' on successful Games, spokesman says


Organisers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are fully concentrating on delivering a "successful Games", a spokesman said, after the head of the organising committee said he did not rule out a cancellation of the global sports event.

"We are concentrating 100% on delivering successful Games," the spokesman said.

01:11 PM

'Fully vaccinated' U.S. women's basketballer Samuelson out due to Covid-19


U.S. Women's 3x3 basketball player Katie Lou Samuelson said she was devastated after being forced to pull out of the Olympics due to a positive Covid-19 test, despite being fully vaccinated.

USA Basketball said on Monday that Samuelson was placed under their health and safety protocols at the weekend, with Jackie Young taking her place in the squad alongside Stefanie Dolson, Allisha Gray and Kelsey Plum.

"I am devastated to share that after getting sick with Covid-19, I will not be able to go and compete in Tokyo," she wrote on Instagram.

"Competing in the Olympics has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl and I hope someday soon, I can come back to realize that dream. I am especially heartbroken as I am fully vaccinated and took every precaution."

3x3 basketball is making its Olympic debut in Tokyo. The three-a-side event runs from July 24-28.

12:51 PM

Team GB's women's football fixtures: 2020 Olympic group stages dates, kick-off times and opponents

Team GB’s women’s football team will play hosts Japan, Canada and Chile in the group stages of the Olympics.

GB, who qualified by virtue of England’s performance at the 2019 Women’s World Cup, can select players from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Head coach Hege Riise, who won Olympic gold as a player with Norway in 2000, has now selected her 18-player squad for the Games this summer.

Having been drawn in a separate group from Sarina Wiegman’s European champions, Holland, and the back-to-back World Cup winners the USA, GB will be confident of progressing to the knockout stages, but will still face difficult tests in Group E - which is the first of three groups but has been so named because the men’s tournament’s groups were labelled A-D.

As hosts, Japan will be expected to challenge, while Canada beat England and Wales in recent friendlies and Chile’s Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Christiane Endler is widely seen as one of the very best shot-stoppers in the world.

Unlike in the men’s version where age limits apply, women’s teams can field their strongest, senior sides, so the women’s game sees the competition as a major tournament and gold medals are seen as the pinnacle of players' careers.

You can get the full rundown of Hege Riise's side here.

12:32 PM

More Companies Pull Out of Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony


More Japanese companies have decided against sending executives to Friday’s opening ceremony for the Tokyo Olympics as concerns about holding the games during the pandemic grow.

Senior officials from Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp., Fujitsu Ltd. and NEC Corp. will skip the event given that organizers decided to hold the games without spectators, spokespeople for the technology giants said Tuesday, a day after Toyota Motor Corp. announced its top executive wouldn’t attend. Japan’s pledge to hold a safe and secure games is coming under threat as Covid-19 cases jump in Tokyo and visiting athletes test positive for the virus.

In a fresh public relations setback, Japanese musician Keigo Oyamada, known as Cornelius, quit the team creating the opening ceremony after acknowledging he bullied school classmates with disabilities years ago.

The games will be the first in modern history to be held without spectators, after Tokyo entered another state of emergency that will run throughout the tournament.

Meiji Holdings Co. and Asahi Group Holdings Ltd. had already decided executives wouldn’t go to the opening ceremony, and Nippon Life Insurance Co. bosses will also stay away, representatives said.

Japanese public support for the Olympics is mixed at best, raising questions over the merits of marketing the competition.

Toyota won’t air local television advertisements during the games, despite being among the global sponsors. Bridgestone Corp. had already decided not to broadcast commercials, a spokesman for the tiremaker said.

NTT plans to broadcast commercials featuring athletes, although it has yet make a final decision.

Nomura Holdings Inc. and Mizuho Financial Group Inc. plan to continue airing ads, according to spokespeople. Eneos Holdings Inc. is seeking to do the same, although it may change its ad policy depending on the situation, a representative for the petroleum refiner said.

12:13 PM

The topless Tongan returns for Tokyo 2020: Bare-chested flag bearer to compete again at the Olympics

He was the star of the opening ceremony at the 2016 Olympic Games, and again two years later as a winter Olympian in PyeongChang.

And now Tonga's Pita Taufatofua is back for this third Olympics, and sure to catch the eye again.

You can read all about him here.

11:56 AM

Adam Peaty at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics: When does he bid for swimming gold and how can I watch?

Adam Peaty is the man who won Team GB's first Olympic male swimming gold medal for 24 years in 2016. And now he's back for more history, seeking to become the first British swimmer, male or female, to successfully defend an Olympic title.

Peaty started Team GB's gold rush at Rio 2016 by topping the podium in the 100m breaststroke in a world record time and he has only gotten better, notably going under 57 seconds at the world championships two years ago.

He sent an ominous warning to his rivals with a world-leading 57.39 secs at the British trials earlier this year, which is more than half a second quicker than anyone else has ever managed in the event. He is also the owner of the 20 fastest times in history.

To say that he is the favourite in the men's 100m breaststroke for the Tokyo Olympics would be putting it mildly. He will also compete in the men's 4x100m medley relay, which won silver in Rio, and will likely appear in the mixed medley relay, a new event for Tokyo.

You can get all the lowdown on Adam Peaty's Olympics from Telegraph Sport here.

11:32 AM

Exclusive interview: Team GB women's football stars - 'Can this team win the gold medal? Yes'

Three Team GB stars sat down with Telegraph Sport before Tokyo: Wales’ Sophie Ingle, Scotland’s Kim Little, and England’s Nikita Parris.

It was a moment that changed everything for British women’s football. Karen Carney’s low ball into the penalty area found Steph Houghton and 70,584 people at Wembley roared as Houghton’s angled shot found the back of the Brazil net.

Just two minutes into the game, in front of a British women’s record at the time, Team GB had opened a country’s eyes to the women’s game at the London 2012 Olympics. Nine years on, a new British side is ready to write their own history and three stars from three different nations of the UK sat down with Telegraph Sport before flying to Tokyo; Scotland’s Kim Little, Wales’ Sophie Ingle and England’s Nikita Parris each have very different memories of Team GB’s only previous foray into Olympic women’s football.

As part of that 2012 squad, Little was one of the first to pile on top of a mobbed Houghton in celebration of that Wembley goal. Three days earlier, she had laid on two assists as Team GB beat Cameroon 3-0 in Cardiff in their second of three group-stage victories; the first, a cute back-heel into the path of Jill Scott, before feeding Houghton for Team GB’s third goal. “They’re such great memories,” the Arsenal midfielder said. “Looking back, 2012 was a catalyst for change in the women’s game across Britain. This moment this summer can be similar, generating more exposure to the women’s game, driving it forward even more.”

You can read more from Tom Garry here.

11:11 AM

Tokyo 2020 chief Muto does not rule out 11th-hour cancellation of Games


The head of the organising committee for the Tokyo Olympics did not rule out a last-minute cancellation of the global sporting showpiece at his press conference today, amid rising coronavirus cases that have presented organisers with mounting challenges.

Asked if the Games, which are due to open on Friday, might still be cancelled, Toshiro Muto said he would keep an eye on infection numbers and hold discussions with organisers if necessary.

"We can't predict what will happen with the number of coronavirus cases. So we will continue discussions if there is a spike in cases," said Muto.

"We have agreed that based on the coronavirus situation, we will convene five-party talks again. At this point, the coronavirus cases may rise or fall, so we will think about what we should do when the situation arises."

tokyo 2020 olympics team gb coronavirus isolation live - Behrouz Mehri /Pool AFP 
tokyo 2020 olympics team gb coronavirus isolation live - Behrouz Mehri /Pool AFP

Covid-19 cases are rising in Tokyo and the Games, postponed last year because of the pandemic, will be held without spectators. Japan this month decided that participants would compete in empty venues to minimise the risk of further infections.

The opening ceremony will also take place without major Olympic sponsors, the companies said on Tuesday, dealing another blow to a slimmed-down Games as more athletes tested positive for the coronavirus.

Muto, a former top financial bureaucrat with close ties to Japan's ruling party, is known for his careful choice of words, while organisers are facing a domestic public angry about coronavirus restrictions and concerned over a possible spike in cases triggered by Games attendees arriving from abroad.

10:55 AM

WHO chief says all must play part to beat Covid in Olympics message


World Health Organization head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a Tokyo Olympics Twitter message on Tuesday that Covid-19 can be defeated if all play their part.

"Glad to be in Japan to address the International Olympics Committee," Tedros said in his tweet. "I've come with a simple but urgent message: we can defeat Covid-19, but only if everyone plays their part.

"May these Tokyo 2020 Olympics be a source of hope and unity to achieve vaccine equity and end the pandemic."

IOC President Thomas Bach had said earlier that Tedros would be in Tokyo on Wednesday and deliver a speech to IOC members.

The WHO has advised Japanese organisers and the IOC on health measures to be taken by participants and at venues during the event from July 23 to August 8.

Earlier this month, Maria van Kerkhove, WHO technical lead on Covid-19, told reporters it was urging organisers to take precautions to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

10:35 AM

Football, casino games and very little athletics - what Usain Bolt did next

'Lightning' Bolt's involvement with the sport he transcended has been scarce since retirement. Ben Bloom takes a look at what the greatest sprinter of all time has been up to since Rio 2016...

In the aftermath of yet another Usain Bolt-dominated Olympics at Rio 2016, Seb Coe made an admission about the Jamaican that must have stuck in the throat of someone who has devoted much of his life to the sport he adores. “His standing extends far beyond athletics,” said Coe, the president of the sport’s governing body.

Not even Coe could deny it. Over the course of the preceding decade, Bolt had become bigger than the sport that made him. In the days leading up to another Olympic gold-medal treble in Rio, Bolt had been the star attraction at a Jamaican team press conference that encapsulated the outlandish world he had grown to inhabit: one in which it was totally normal for cocktail makers to dispense caipirinhas to all in attendance before scantily-clad samba dancers entered alongside the main man. Where Bolt was concerned, a simple question-and-answer session turned into a dazzling spectacle.

Then came the end. As the clock ticked down on his final year of competition, attention naturally turned to what would happen next - not only for Bolt, but for a sport that had grown so reliant on his pulling power. But for all the warm words about keeping Bolt within the sport, he has rarely been seen at any athletics event - and Coe must be wondering how the best thing that ever happened to the sport slipped so suddenly away.

So, how has the greatest ever track athlete been spending his time? Have a read here.

10:18 AM

Ugandan weightlifter who fled pre-Olympics camp found in central Japan


A Ugandan athlete who fled during pre-Olympics training in western Japan last week has been found and is being interviewed by police, officials said Tuesday.

Mie prefectural police in central Japan said 20-year-old weightlifter Julius Ssekitoleko was in the Yokkaichi city, 170 kilometers (105 miles) east of his host town in western Japan. Police are asking him what happened since he fled his hotel in Izumisano in the Osaka prefecture Friday, leaving behind a note saying he didn't want to return to his country.

Ssekitoleko left behind his luggage and a note saying he wanted to stay in Japan and work, Izumisano officials said. He did not meet Olympic standards in the latest international rankings released after he arrived Japan and was to return home this week.

The pandemic-delayed Olympics open Friday despite mounting concern about an upsurge of infections in Tokyo, which on Tuesday reported 1,387 cases, up 557 from a week ago.

On their arrival on June 19 at Narita International Airport, a member of the team tested positive and was quarantined, while the remaining eight members were allowed to travel more than 500 kilometers (300 miles) on a chartered bus to Izumisano.

Days later, a second member of the team tested positive, forcing seven town officials and drivers who had close contact with the team to self-isolate. Health officials said both infected Ugandans had the delta variant, which is believed to be more contagious.

The team, which ended its isolation and trained from July 7, headed to Tokyo's Olympic village on Tuesday without Ssekitoleko.

09:53 AM

A look back at some classic Olympic moments

The official Olympics channel has been posting some classic clips from previous Games on Twitter over the past couple of days...

09:45 AM

Organisers warn participants against eating out over Covid-19 risks


Organisers of the Tokyo Olympics have warned accredited participants against visiting restaurants that open after 8 p.m. or serve alcohol, citing a "grave reputational risk", according to the note they sent out.

Japan has declared a state of emergency for Tokyo that will run through its hosting of the Olympics. Public concern has grown that staging an event with tens of thousands of overseas athletes, officials and journalists could accelerate infection rates in Japan's capital and introduce variants that are more infectious or deadlier.

Japanese media reported cases where those accredited for the Games were seen drinking in Tokyo's downtown areas or violating quarantines.

"These incidents have also been raised in the National Diet, and have the potential to severely damage the reputation of the Tokyo 2020 Games and your organisations," the organisers said, referring to the recent media reports in Japan.

The organisers told the attendees to "not visit restaurants that are open after 20:00 or that serve alcohol."

"Even after your first 14 days in Japan, this will be perceived as visiting a business that operates illegally and could constitute a grave reputational risk to yourself, your organisation, and the Tokyo 2020 Games," said the note sent to Covid-19 liaison officers responsible for ensuring the participants follow the protocols.

Spectators have been barred from almost all events and infections have hit a number of teams arriving in Japan less than a week ahead of the July 23 opening ceremony.

09:27 AM

South Korea team to screen its food over Fukushima radiation concerns


South Korea's Olympic team will cook food for its athletes separately and screen ingredients for radiation during the Tokyo Olympics, an official said, a potential further irritant to frayed Seoul-Tokyo relations around the Games.

South Korea has periodically irked Japan with such steps as curbing imports of Japanese seafood, citing safety concerns after the 2011 Fukushima tsunami and nuclear disaster.

A spokesperson for the Korean Sport & Olympic Committee said it has booked a hotel near the Olympic village to prepare and deliver boxed meals to its athletes, adding that the country has run its own food programmes at every Olympic Games to help its athletes feel at home.

Relations between the two Asian neighbours, already at a low ebb amid feuds over territorial claims and their wartime history, were further dented on Monday when Seoul said President Moon Jae-in would not visit the Games, which open on Friday, for what would have been his first summit with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

It is not uncommon for countries to bring their own chefs to the Olympics - the United States served its own food at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

But the South Korean team has also stepped up its food safety checks at the Tokyo Games to gauge radioactive caesium levels, with its own chefs preparing about 400 meals a day.

"We are doing screening tests for caesium in food ingredients from kimchi we are bringing from home to other items including Japanese ingredients," said the South Korean Olympic spokesperson, who asked not to be named.

In 2019 South Korea largely won a dispute with Japan at the World Trade Organization over Seoul's import bans and testing requirements on Japanese seafood.

09:08 AM

If Tokyo is what the most gender-balanced Olympics looks like, then we have a very long way to go

Recent events suggest the powers that be remain hell-bent on dictating to athletes - particularly women - what they can and cannot do, says Fiona Tomas.

Long before Covid chaos began overshadowing the Tokyo Olympics, you might have read somewhere how the Games in Japan will be the most gender-balanced in history. Women are expected to count for almost 49 per cent of all Olympians in Japan - empirical proof that the biggest sporting movement on Earth is finally detaching itself from its chequered history of gender equality. (Remember how the ‘weaker sex’ was barred from the marathon until the Los Angeles Games in 1984?)

Well, not quite. Recent events suggest the powers that be remain hell-bent on dictating to athletes - particularly women - what they can and cannot do. On Monday this week, EU politicians urged organisers to lift their “exclusionary” ban on Soul Cap swim hats, which are specifically designed for long afro hair. The black-owned swimwear brand was banned from the Olympics by swimming’s world governing body last month, prompting widespread backlash and uncertainty over whether athletes like Britain’s marathon swimmer Alice Dearing will be allowed to wear them.

Meanwhile, breastfeeding Olympians were not even allowed to bring their babies with them to Japan before the International Olympic Committee belatedly performed a U-turn earlier this month. Too little, too late for those supermums like Naomi Folkard, the British archer who has been batch-freezing her breast milk ahead of leaving her six-month-old for her fifth Games, at Tokyo.

You can read Fiona's views in full here.

08:50 AM

Japan projected to improve medals tally by 50 per cent, says data analytics firm


Host-nation Japan is projected to improve its medals haul at the Tokyo Olympics by 50 per cent from the Rio de Janeiro Games, according to data analysts Gracenote.

Japan won a record-breaking 41 medals in Rio in 2016 and could increase that to 60, buoyed by gains from new and returning disciplines, including skateboarding, sport climbing and baseball.

"Due to the impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic, there is potential for the Tokyo Summer Games to be more unpredictable than normal," Gracenote said, releasing its final 'Virtual Medal Table' before the start of the Games on Friday.

The United States was picked to top the table but its expected haul was cut to 96, compared to the 121 won five years ago.

tokyo 2020 olympics team gb coronavirus isolation live - Martin Rickett /PA
tokyo 2020 olympics team gb coronavirus isolation live - Martin Rickett /PA

Asian powerhouse China's medal count was put at 66 but Gracenote said it might be a conservative projection due to a lack of data on the country's athletes.

"Nearly 80 per cent of the Chinese athletes ranked in the Virtual Medal Table top-8s have no results since the pandemic began and the forecast total may be underrating the country's actual performance," it said.

Russian athletes, who will be competing in Tokyo as representatives of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) after the country was stripped of its flag and anthem for doping offences, were projected to come second in the table with 68 medals.

Britain was placed fifth with 52 medals, 15 fewer than it won in Rio.

Telegraph Sport have analysed how the medal table works and how it could all shake out. You can read in full here.

08:30 AM

Tokyo 1964 revisited: 57 years on, those Games now seem a world away

For all the tales of makeshift sandpits and British women being housed separately under curfew, there was still romance, friendship and fun. Our Chief Sports Reporter Jeremy Wilson takes a little trip back in time...

When the Olympic flame last burnt proudly in Tokyo in 1964, the relationship between money, athletes and the greatest sporting show on Earth could hardly have felt more different.

Dorothy Hyman – the Dina Asher-Smith of her day – was permanently excluded from competitive sprinting the year after the Games in Japan for receiving £150 for writing an autobiography, Sprint to Fame.

Mary Peters, who finished fourth in the Tokyo pentathlon before winning gold eight years later, was forced to leave her teaching job and work as a secretary at a health club because the area director of education did not like her taking Friday afternoons off to travel to international competitions.

And Ann Packer, the gold medallist at 800m, would immediately retire from athletics after her Tokyo triumph, at the age of just 22, when her competitive career was ended by her taking part in an advertisement for Heinz baked beans.

At a moment when the Olympics ploughs on through the Covid-19 pandemic, to protect broadcast and sponsorship income well into the billions, some of the stories of Tokyo ’64 feel like they are from a different planet, let alone generation.

You can read Jeremy's delightful time capsule in full here.

08:09 AM

'Faster, Higher, Stronger - Together': IOC amends motto


The International Olympic Committee has amended its 'Faster, Higher, Stronger' motto to include the word 'Together', its President Thomas Bach said on Tuesday, highlighting the need for solidarity during difficult times such as the Covid-19 pandemic.

"We have to adapt the motto to our times," he told a session meeting following the approval of an Olympic Charter amendment.

The motto now reads: 'Faster, Higher, Stronger - Together'.

"The collaborative effort is bringing faster and better results than working in silos and protecting each silo from the progress of the other silo," added Bach.

"This is a milestone in our development and sends a clear signal. We want to put special focus on solidarity."

The original motto, the Latin 'Citius, Altius, Fortius', was adopted by the founder of the modern Games Pierre De Coubertin in the 19th century.

The Latin version will become 'Citius, Altius, Fortius - Communis'.

07:52 AM

Tokyo Games set to be hottest Olympics on record

Athletes competing at the Games this summer face the threat not only of coronavirus but also searing temperatures and high humidity, with experts predicting this will be the hottest ever Olympics.

Japan is known for its sweltering heat and high humidity post rainy season and this has been a concern since Tokyo won its bid to host the event in 2013. The last time Tokyo hosted the Games in 1964, the event was moved to the autumn due to the uncomfortable weather conditions posed by the summer months.

In 2019, the IOC are reported to have pressured organisers in Japan to move the marathon event to Sapporo, a cooler city 500 miles north of Tokyo. However, according to local news outlet The Mainchi, the temperature in Sapporo was 35 degrees yesterday.

On Monday, beach volleyball players practicing at Shiokaze Park in Tokyo complained the sand was too hot for their feet, forcing volunteers to douse the sand down. Organisers say they have introduced mitigating measures including cooling tents and mist fans as well as ice cream for volunteers.

It is not uncommon for the Japanese environment ministry to issue 'Do Not Exercise' warnings for Tokyo residents during the sweltering summer months. During the period of late July to early August last year 13 'Do Not Exercise' warnings were issued, according to the Kyodo News Agency.

07:34 AM

British Paralympian Olivia Breen 'speechless' after being told her briefs were 'too short and inappropriate'

The Welsh para-athlete was wearing official 2021 Adidas briefs when the incident occurred after the long jump at the English Championships, reports Fiona Tomas.

Olivia Breen, the British double Paralympic world champion who will compete at the Tokyo Games next month, was left “speechless” after being told that her briefs were “too short and inappropriate” by an official at the English Championships.

Welsh para-athlete Breen was wearing official 2021 Adidas briefs when the incident occurred after she competed in the long jump in Bedford at Sunday’s event and questioned whether a male competitor would be subjected to similar remarks.

The 24-year-old, who won Commonwealth gold in 2018 and has two world titles in the T35-38 4x100m relay and in the T38 long jump, was contacted on Monday morning by England Athletics, who are investigating the incident.

“I am always grateful for the incredible volunteers who officiate at athletics events,” Breen, who has cerebral palsy, posted on social media. “They do an amazing job and make it possible for us to compete. However, tonight I feel disappointed because just as I finished my long jump competition one of the female officials felt it necessary to inform me that my sprint briefs were too short and inappropriate. I was left speechless.

“I have been wearing the same sprint-style briefs for many years and they are specifically designed for competing in,” she added. “I will hopefully be wearing them in Tokyo. It made me question whether a male competitor would be similarly criticised.”

You can read all the details here.

07:17 AM

The sun, self-cleaning stickers and porridge: the secrets behind Team GB's Tokyo 2020 training camp

Despite the disrupted build-up, every detail is being covered to ensure Team GB's athletes hit peak performance in Tokyo. Our Athletics Correspondent Ben Bloom has all the details from Tokyo.

Preparing a team of more than 350 athletes for an Olympics is a gargantuan task. Sleep must be sound enough for them to reach competition in peak physical condition, training environments need to cater for every conceivable demand, and logistics should be someone else’s concern - anyone but the athletes themselves.

But without fine-tuning small details, the big things become meaningless. Which explains Team GB’s dedication to porridge.

In addition to ensuring 8,000 pre-made porridge pots had safely arrived before anyone even set foot inside Britain’s preparation camp in Yokohama, the team’s head chef personally took charge of one of the most important tasks ahead of these Tokyo Games: teaching a Japanese kitchen crew how to cook one of Britain’s best-loved breakfasts and something that is totally unfamiliar to them.

“Porridge is such a big thing with athletes but not big in Japan at all,” says Wendy Martinson, Team GB lead nutritionist.

“We had to get them to make a sample of porridge to see if it was up to scratch and actually they nailed it first time so we’ve now got two varieties of porridge each morning: a flavoured one and a plain one. They are going down a treat.”

You can read Ben's report in full here.

07:00 AM

Today in Tokyo

tokyo 2020 olympics team gb coronavirus isolation live - David Goldman /AP
tokyo 2020 olympics team gb coronavirus isolation live - David Goldman /AP
tokyo 2020 olympics team gb coronavirus isolation live - PHILIP FONG /AFP
tokyo 2020 olympics team gb coronavirus isolation live - PHILIP FONG /AFP
tokyo 2020 olympics team gb coronavirus isolation live - Buda Mendes /Getty Images AsiaPac 
tokyo 2020 olympics team gb coronavirus isolation live - Buda Mendes /Getty Images AsiaPac
tokyo 2020 olympics team gb coronavirus isolation live - PHILIP FONG /AFP
tokyo 2020 olympics team gb coronavirus isolation live - PHILIP FONG /AFP
tokyo 2020 olympics team gb coronavirus isolation live - FRANCK ROBICHON/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock /Shutterstock
tokyo 2020 olympics team gb coronavirus isolation live - FRANCK ROBICHON/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock /Shutterstock

06:43 AM

Prince William full of praise for Olympic boxing hopeful Lauren Price

The middleweight boxer, currently ranked world number one, outlined the challenges she faced training at home during the pandemic, reports Victoria Ward.

The Duke of Cambridge joked “I’m not even good at one sport” as he wished Olympic boxing hopeful Lauren Price good luck for the Tokyo Games.

Prince William invited Miss Price, 27, to Kensington Palace to discuss her preparations for the Games, hearing how she had to balance training with driving a taxi at the weekends, “picking up all the drunks on a Friday and Saturday night”.

The Duke laughed: “I bet they didn’t mess with you though, Lauren.”

Miss Price described how she had started out playing football, gaining 52 caps for Wales, as well as becoming a four-time kickboxing world champion, before eventually switching to boxing aged 16.

The Duke told her: “You see Lauren, I have a problem, I’m not even good at one sport and you’re already good at three sports.”

You can read more about Lauren Price's meeting with the future king here.

06:25 AM

Olympic Village Covid-19 infection bubble already 'broken', says health expert


The so-called bubble to control Covid-19 infections at the Olympic Athlete's Village in Tokyo is already "broken" and poses a risk of spreading infections to the general populace, a prominent public health expert has said.

Games officials on Sunday reported the first Covid-19 case among competitors in the athletes' village in Tokyo where 11,000 athletes are expected to stay. Since July 2, Tokyo 2020 organisers have reported 58 positive cases among athletes, officials and journalists.

"It's obvious that the bubble system is kind of broken," said Kenji Shibuya, the former director of the Institute for Population Health at King's College London.

"My biggest concern is, of course, there will be a cluster of infections in the village or some of the accommodation and interaction with local people."

Insufficient testing at the border and the impossibility of controlling people's movements mean that the Games could exacerbate the spread of the infectious Delta variant of the virus, he added.

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said last week that testing and quarantine protocols would leave "zero" risk of Games participants infecting residents in Japan.

tokyo 2020 olympics team gb coronavirus isolation live - FABRICE COFFRINI /AFP
tokyo 2020 olympics team gb coronavirus isolation live - FABRICE COFFRINI /AFP

Declarations like that only serve to confuse and anger people, Shibuya said, as actual conditions on the ground are "totally opposite".

In April, Shibuya co-authored a commentary in the British Medical Journal that the Olympics must be "reconsidered" due to Japan's inability to contain coronavirus cases.

New Covid-19 cases in Tokyo reached 1,410 on Saturday, a near six month high, while the Games are due to start in just three days.

Public health experts have warned that seasonal factors, increased mobility, and the spread of the Delta variant could lead to a surge past 2,000 cases per day in Tokyo by next month, levels that could drive the city's medical system to breaking point.

Just 33 per cent of people in Japan have received at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose, among the lowest rate among wealthy countries, according to a Reuters tracker. The vaccination push has gained steam since last month, but recently ebbed due to supply and logistical snags.

By contrast, Soma City in the northern prefecture of Fukushima where Shibuya headed its vaccination efforts recently completed the bulk of its inoculations, far ahead of most of Japan.

06:08 AM

Last minute Covid scare raises alarm with Team GB

Team GB athletes have spoken of their shock and described fearing for their Olympic dreams after six of their track and field team-mates were forced to isolate in Japan after being identified as close contacts of positive Covid cases.

The six athletes, plus two athletics staff members, were told they were close contacts after someone unconnected to Team GB on their flight to Japan was subsequently found to have Covid.

They were shut in their rooms at the Team GB preparation camp hotel in Yokohama, but all have since provided two negative PCR tests in the past 48 hours, allowing them some semblance of freedom while remaining isolated from the rest of their team-mates.

The athletes were allowed to return to outdoor training again on Monday morning after they were assigned their own separate space at the Todoroki Stadium. A section of the Team GB gym was also cordoned off for their use only.

You can read more of Ben Bloom's report on the team's panic here.

05:52 AM

Six Polish swimmers sent home from Japan after admin blunder


The president of Poland's swimming federation (PZP) has apologised after six athletes were sent home from the Tokyo Games due to an administrative error.

Poland had sent 23 swimmers to Japan but the PZP was forced to cut the squad down to 17 based on world governing body FINA's qualifying rules.

PZP President Pawel Slominski apologised and said he fully understood the anger of the swimmers who returned home over the weekend.

"I express great regret, sadness and bitterness about the situation related to the qualification of our swimmers for the Olympic Games in Tokyo," Slominski said in a statement

"Such a situation should not take place, and the reaction of the swimmers, their emotions, the attack on the Polish Swimming Federation is understandable to me and justified."

He said the error was due to the "desire to allow as many players and coaches as possible to take part in the Games".

Media reports identified the six swimmers as Alicja Tchorz, Bartosz Piszczorowicz, Aleksandra Polanska, Mateusz Chowaniec, Dominika Kossakowska and Jan Holub.

Tchorz, who competed at the 2012 and 2016 Games, expressed her anger on social media.

"Imagine dedicating five years of your life and striving for another start at the most important sporting event ... giving up your private life and work, sacrificing your family ... your dedication results in a total flop," she said on Facebook.

Chowaniec added on Instagram: "I'm deeply shocked by what happened... this is an absurd situation for me that should never have happened. In fact, I hope to wake up from this nightmare eventually."

Swimming news website SwimSwam reported several Polish swimmers had signed an open letter to the PZP seeking the resignation of the organisation's entire board.

Poland have won just one gold medal in swimming history at the summer games, which was claimed by Otylia Jędrzejczak in 2004 during the 200m butterfly. She also won two silvers that year, claiming half of Poland's total of six medals in Olympic swimming,