A woman walks near banners for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo. Photo: AP/Eugene Hoshiko
tokyo 2020 olympics

Tokyo Olympic organizers hit by test event cancelations for some pool sports

31 Comments

Tokyo Olympic organizers grappled with the cancelation of test events for several pool sports just days after they were restarted, as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to disrupt preparations for the start of the Summer Games in July.

The International Swimming Federation (FINA) has canceled Olympic qualifiers for diving and artistic swimming that were to double as test events this month and next, the calendar on its website shows.

Separately, a water polo test event involving only Japanese athletes, that was due to take place at the weekend, will be canceled because overseas officials are unable to come to Japan due to strict COVID-19 countermeasures, public broadcaster NHK said.

A spokeswoman for the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, which was running the water polo event, declined to comment on the report.

The news is a blow for organizers just days after they restarted test events, which are an important dry run to confirm the Games' operational capabilities, for the first time in more than a year.

It also highlights the mammoth task of planning for the world's biggest sporting event at a time when Japan is struggling to combat a fourth wave of COVID-19 infections that has begun to gather.

Japan's vaccination campaign made a slow start and some prefectures were battling a resurgence in new infections, with one hot spot, the city of Osaka, expected to cancel its leg of the torch relay next week.

Organizers were initially planning 18 test events in April and May, starting with wheelchair rugby April 3-4.

But FINA has cancelled its Olympic qualifiers in Tokyo, which were also to be test events, for diving scheduled for April 18-23 and artistic swimming May 1-4, according to its website.

FINA has also canceled a non-test event, the Olympic marathon swim qualifier in Fukuoka in late May, its website shows.

FINA had said on Friday it was reviewing its qualifiers planned for Japan, without giving a reason, and that it would make an announcement in the current week. It has yet to issue a new statement. And on Sunday, Yasuo Mori, a senior Tokyo 2020 official, said FINA intended to cancel the events and that organizers would hold talks with the swimming federation this week.

The BBC, citing a letter it had accessed from FINA to national federations, reported on Friday the diving event was cancelled because the organizers' planned COVID-19 precautions "will not properly ensure" the safety of athletes.

The BBC report also said FINA was unhappy that several Japanese embassies around the world had yet to issue visas to nations that planned to compete, and cited other factors including rising costs of measures to control the spread of COVID-19 that the global body was asked to pay for.

© Thomson Reuters 2021.

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

31 Comments
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Next thing you know they’re going to backflip and sidestep into an Olympic cancellation because of variation strandz

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Hey Japan, do you know what will solve this problem? Vaccine! You know they exist, right?

24 ( +30 / -6 )

Tough spot. I wonder how China will handle it next year. The winter months may be even more challenging.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Japan's major TV channels never mention such negative topics to Olympics 2020.

They abandoned press freedom or journalism about Olympics at least

29 ( +31 / -2 )

The BBC, citing a letter it had accessed from FINA to national federations, reported on Friday the diving event was cancelled because the organizers' planned COVID-19 precautions "will not properly ensure" the safety of athletes.

Yup, what I've been thinking for a long time, and what is quite clear; when many Japanese officials, and the common folk, think they are doing proper precautions, they're in fact far from sufficient, at least when compared to many other countries. Mere masks and hand disinfectants are not enough. E.g. the social distances need to really be distances. Once again, 20cm is not 2m.

What makes me increasingly worried is, that I know a few people, including my S/O, who work for the games. It's starting to look like they can only dream about getting vaccinated before the games. How is their safety ensured?

@Hideomi Kuze

Japan's major TV channels never mention such negative topics to Olympics 2020.

They abandoned press freedom or journalism about Olympics at least

Yes. Japan is 66th on the World Press Freedom Index. On the leash.

https://rsf.org/en/japan

24 ( +26 / -2 )

What a fiasco this has become.

23 ( +25 / -2 )

cancelTokyoOlympics
25 ( +28 / -3 )

No one is coming, so much is going to get cancelled

15 ( +17 / -2 )

"Hey Japan, do you know what will solve this problem? Vaccine! You know they exist, right?2

Hey JT poster, do you know, what will solve this problem?. The EU and America to honor its contract. You know, the EU Played politics with the vaccine. Right???

-30 ( +0 / -30 )

"The BBC report also said FINA was unhappy that several Japanese embassies around the world had yet to issue visas to nations that planned to compete, and cited other factors including rising costs of measures to control the spread of COVID-19 that the global body was asked to pay for."

Oh yes, the real reason it was cancelled. Money.

1 ( +10 / -9 )

I sense some momentum

12 ( +13 / -1 )

I saw some Tokyo

Olympics 2020 souvenirs, clothes, t-shirts, towels and mementos reduced by up to 30% at a big sports store in Osaka today. Pens, Keychains, mascot dolls have also been tossed into UFO catcher machines at some game centers.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Olympics 2020 souvenirs, clothes, t-shirts, towels and mementos reduced by up to 30% at a big sports store in Osaka today. Pens, Keychains, mascot dolls have also been tossed into UFO catcher machines at some game centers.

If you keep some they may be worth something in the future as collectibles.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

@Yamada you conveniently forget that Japan intentionally delayed its own vaccine rollout and is now behind every other G7 country in the number of people vaccinated. This is not the fault of the EU. 70 percent of Japanese people are dissatisfied with the govt vaccine response so don’t blame it on us.

22 ( +22 / -0 )

FINA has certainly made a splash.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

70 percent of Japanese people are dissatisfied with the govt vaccine response

I don't believe that. 30% satisfied? That's impossible.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

If and when it's over we will look back at this Olympic and say it was a Hell Of a Ride.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The Tokyo 2020 merchandise is 90 % made in China and very poor quality

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Mark, we will say the Japanese government, the IOC, the JOC took the country for a ride.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Is this what they call cancel culture?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Just Cancel the whole event

7 ( +7 / -0 )

The olympic calendar is looking more and more like deadlines for cancellations.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

HimariYamadaToday  06:14 pm JST

"Hey Japan, do you know what will solve this problem? Vaccine! You know they exist, right?2

Hey JT poster, do you know, what will solve this problem?. The EU and America to honor its contract. You know, the EU Played politics with the vaccine. Right???

It’t not the European Union fault if they prioritize first on their citizen.

Maybe your government instead of having endless panels and promote non sense GoTo spread and care only for these unwanted Olympics used all it’s resources to come up with a domestic vaccine you wouldn’t be in such a situation.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Japanese might moan about Covid this and that. But it's shaping up for them to get in line and get their jab,based on my students and the foreigners on this site LOL two times.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Just cancel already

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Very wise choice.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@HimariYamada

The EU and America to honor its contract.

Japan got 0 contract with EU and US for vaccine. It got contract with Pfizzer, Astra and Moderna.

Japan got millions of Pfizzer vaccine throught EU which did not refuse any export for Pfizzer and also invested a lot of money to make it possible to mass produce vaccine for them and other countries depending of their plant and not just the vaccine itself but also all that is around like the vial. Do you have any proof that Japan paid even a single yen to EU to help improve their production capacity ? Most likely not, find none either. So perhaps you should remember that : every single vaccine dose and its vial was partly paid by the foreigner you despise.

Japan got ten of thousand of doses of Astra from the US and is producing their own. Bt guess what : Astra is still waiting for agreement from Japan, so they are just sleeping somewhere. I guess alongside Pfizzer ones.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The Bottom Line Is This. The I O C want the CASH.

They do not care about the virus, it is all about the Cash.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What I feel sad about is, not the bungling bureaucracy or the mountaine of red tape, but I feel so sorry for the atherleats that will/wont be arriving for these games, they have trained for hours and hours and days, weeks to get to be the best in the world, they all want to be on that winner rostrum holding there medal, flying there flag for there country. and now its not going to happen. jees, what a mess this whole olympics has been. It must go down in history as one of the worst.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I don't believe that. 30% satisfied? That's impossible.

Nah, it's possible, they just poll the areas that are known to be LDP strongholds, like inside Kasumigaseki!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Last month, a virtual international diving competition was held at multiple locations with judges around the world watching a live stream. It was hosted by Canadian Diving with only 4 countries (GBR, CAN, JAM and RSA) invited/participating across the 12 events. https://diving.ca/listing/national-virtual-simulation/

Every few years Japan has a very gifted diver in the competitions, but Japan hasn't figured out how to keep a stream of high performing divers engaged from year to year like China, Canada, Britain, Malaysia. I can't recall ever seeing two excellent Japanese divers in international competitions, just 1.

they have trained for hours and hours and days, weeks to get to be the best in the world

Hours, days? Are you joking? Years - decades or more like it. Nobody gets to the Olympic level without at least 4 yrs, sometimes 15+ years of training.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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