sports

Gymnast Uchimura tests positive for COVID-19 ahead of key meet

10 Comments
By Elaine Lies and Jack Tarrant

Japanese gymnast Kohei Uchimura has tested positive for COVID-19 ten days before he was due to take part in an international meet seen as a major test of Tokyo's capacity to hold events ahead of next year's Olympics, organizers announced on Thursday.

The meet is set to be the first international event to be held at a Tokyo Olympic venue since the Games were postponed in March due to the new coronavirus pandemic.

Organizers said it was unclear whether Uchimura, who is a three-time Olympic gold medalist, will be pulling out of the Nov 8 meet that will also feature athletes from China, Russia and the United States. However, the event is still scheduled to be held as planned.

Despite a lengthy recent injury record, 31-year-old Uchimura was set to be the main attraction for the 2,000 fans allowed to watch the event at Yoyogi National Gymnasium.

The president of the Federation Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG), Morinari Watanabe, told reporters during an online news conference on Thursday that Uchimura was asymptomatic.

"He is in a very stable condition," Watanabe said, adding that Uchimura was resting in his room at the national training centre where the team has been staying for a week and would be monitored for the next six days. He will be retested on Nov 4 and 5 and could still take part if both tests are negative.

Watanabe added that all the other members of the Japanese team have so far tested negative but would be tested again on Friday, along with other staff members, adding that it was unknown if Uchimura had become infected in the centre or prior to entering.

He also said that the event, the Friendship and Solidarity Competition at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium, would go ahead even if the Japanese team had to withdraw and that all the international athletes had so far tested negative.

"At this point it's just Uchimura. If we find out it's spread through the rest of the team, at that point they might pull out," he said.

"All the other teams have been isolated in their countries - don't put these two issues together," he added, in explaining how the meet might still go ahead.

The other athletes are set to arrive on Nov 4 and 5 under strict rules including moving only between practices, the event venue and their hotel, which they are forbidden to leave otherwise.

In an interview with Reuters earlier this week, Watanabe said he hoped this meet would open the door towards holding a successful Olympics next year.

© Thomson Reuters 2020.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

10 Comments
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Hope he recovers. Health first!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Organizers said it was unclear whether Uchimura, who is a three-time Olympic gold medalist, will be pulling out of the Nov 8 meet that will also feature athletes from China, Russia and the United States. However, the event is still scheduled to be held as planned.

Medically speaking he could be completely asymptomatic and still would be required to be on isolation by November 8th, saying that this is unclear prove that the priority of the event is not the health of the athletes.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

When coming back to Japan, a two weeks quarantine is still required even after two consecutives negative tests (only one at arrival for Japanese citizens), but an athlete testing positive now could make the tournament if tested negative in one week.

That's make no sense ?

 

“All the other teams have been isolated in their countries”

How can be you sure ? it is just a requirement made and question of trust.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

First of all I hope and wish Uchimura a full and speedy recovery. That is and should be the only priority.

Watanabe San had put the bar very high by declaring that his event would be a show and test case for a safe Olympics. He has now proven the contrary. A safe Olympics is not possible even with all possible precautions and the scale of the Olympics is 1000x this mini event. Against all hope we must now expect other team and staff members to be infected and at this point even considering going ahead with this event is irresponsible. Why run the risk that the foreign delegations get infected here and take it back to their countries? That can create new clusters in those countries.

taking the position that it is only one and isolated case is what has spread the disease in the first place and has caused Europe’s 2nd wave.

All best wishes for a speedy recovery to Uchimura San.

Watanabe San has no blame, nor does anyone else for now. But now is the time to show real leadership , cancel the event, or be ready to do take responsibility for any future infection through this event

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Asymptomatic..which means it was only discovered due to his testing as member of an elite sports team. Now imagine how many asymptomatic cases are walking around Japan while the govt insists on the overly strict test eligibility guidelines for general public.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

even considering going ahead with this event is irresponsible

It's already been decided by the expert panel in many meetings that this event is going ahead. Nothing can change that.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Medically speaking he could be completely asymptomatic and still would be required to be on isolation by November 8th, saying that this is unclear prove that the priority of the event is not the health of the athletes.

As mentioned in the article, he will be retested twice, and has to clear both tests. Not sure what symptoms have to do with it.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

"Organizers said it was unclear whether Uchimura, who is a three-time Olympic gold medalist, will be pulling out of the Nov 8 meet..."

Typical. The guy tests positive and already, since they're trying to draw a crowd and want to showcase "preparedness in dealing with the pandemic" are just brushing it off and suggesting he might be able to attend, ignoring the mandatory two weeks of quarantine even for potential EXPOSURE. I'm just surprised they're not cursing him for not waiting to catch it, you know, like some politicians criticised Ikee for getting leukaemia when she poses one of Japan's best chances at a swimming gold.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

As mentioned in the article, he will be retested twice, and has to clear both tests. Not sure what symptoms have to do with it.

Negative tests do not mean he is no longer at risk of spreading the disease, it only mean the virus was not found at that moment. It is well known that during the course of the disease the viral loads in the upper respiratory tracks decrease, making the tests come out as negative more often, but at the same time the loads on the lower respiratory tracks become higher, so the person can still spread the infection.

For a person without any symptoms but a positive test the minimum time of isolation is 10 days after his positive test. Medically it is not justified for him to break isolation before that and being tested repeatedly do not shorten this period. He could be tested 5 times tomorrow and be negative in all those tests and he would still be considered a possible vector on November 8th.

And obviously symptoms are extremely important because they are signs of active viral infection. If he is asymptomatic now, but gets a fever in two days that resets the period of isolation to 10 days from then. This is specially important for activities where transmission is easier, like sports.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

His case turns out to be false positive.

内村航平は「偽陽性」新型コロナ感染していなかった 国際体操連盟が発表

https://news.yahoo.co.jp/articles/001eeacc0d243205ad8e0dbdfd9b38ae4ea68946

Unless confirmation/follow-ups are made, media outlets including here JT should stop rushing to report an individual case for celebrity or public figures. That wouldn't produce anything but hype, futile guesswork and discussions.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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