From left, silver medalists Melissa Citrini Beaulieu and Jennifer Abel of Canada, gold medalists Chang Yani, and Chen Yiwen, left, of China and bronze medalists Chiara Pellacani and Elena Bertocchi of Italy pose for photographers after the women's synchronized 3-meter springboard award ceremony at the FINA Diving World Cup at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre on Saturday. Photo: AP/Eugene Hoshiko
tokyo 2020 olympics

Under close supervision, Tokyo welcomes foreign divers to test event

16 Comments
By Chris Gallagher and Rocky Swift

Diving and volleyball on Saturday became the first Olympic test events to include international athletes since such competitions resumed last month, as both got under way under close supervision in Tokyo.

The diving World Cup, also a qualifier for this summer's Games this summer, features more than 200 athletes from 50 countries including powerhouse China.

"We're not allowed out of our rooms, where you have to stay... - no outdoor air, no human interaction," said U.S. women's diver Sarah Bacon. "But we've been making it work."

With around 15,000 Olympians and Paralympians expected to compete in Japan this summer, organizers are still grappling with how to hold the Games safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Japanese authorities are determined to protect not only Games participants, but a local population that opinion surveys have shown is largely opposed to the event held this summer due to the presence of the virus.

Japan is battling a fourth wave of infections, and the government has declared states of emergency in Tokyo and other areas.

During a warm-up before Saturday's men's preliminary event, the announcer scolded divers for gathering too closely, thus violating social distancing standards, around the 3-meter springboard.

The event was also punctuated in the morning by an earthquake that shook the cavernous Tokyo Aquatics Centre, a reminder that the Games are taking place in one of the world's most tectonically active regions.

Diving athletes and coaches expressed gratitude for the chance to compete but also some frustrations that precautions against contagion denied them the chance to experience the city or have some fresh air.

Participants are undergoing COVID-19 testing every morning and have to maintain health information on smartphone apps. Additionally, they are kept in a "bubble," restricting movements to between the hotel and venue.

"It would have been nice if they could have rented a bus for the team to do some sightseeing around the city," Patrick Hausding, a silver and bronze medal winner for Germany in two prior Olympics, told reporters from behind a glass window. "To be in Tokyo and not be able to see anything is a real shame."

The diving event, originally scheduled for April, was in danger of being cancelled amid reports the International Swimming Federation (FINA) was dissatisfied with the Japanese side's COVID-19 countermeasures.

FINA and Tokyo organizers agreed to reschedule it for May 1-6 but the global swim body cancelled an artistic swimming qualifier that was scheduled to be held in Tokyo, and moved a marathon swimming qualifier from Fukuoka in southern Japan to Portugal.

In addition, Australia decided to withdraw from the diving due to worries about rising coronavirus cases in Japan.

Saturday's volleyball involved a friendly between Japan and China.

The Tokyo Olympics, delayed by a year because of the pandemic, are scheduled to open on July 23.

© Thomson Reuters 2021.

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

16 Comments
Login to comment

precautions against contagion denied them the chance to experience the city

Cry me rivers...

1 ( +4 / -3 )

"We're not allowed out of our rooms, where you have to stay... - no outdoor air, no human interaction," said U.S. women's diver Sarah Bacon. "But we've been making it work."

They know what will wait for them in Tokyo.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

So, this is supposed to represent "Victory over the pandemic"?

12 ( +13 / -1 )

close supervision

like in yesterday's photo of a few dozen divers and extras from all over the place, maskless and mingling? https://japantoday.com/category/tokyo-2020-olympics/Olympic-diving-test-event-begins-in-Tokyo-torch-relay-detour-on-Okinawa

6 ( +6 / -0 )

"It would have been nice if they could have rented a bus for the team to do some sightseeing around the city," Patrick Hausding, a silver and bronze medal winner for Germany in two prior Olympics, told reporters from behind a glass window. "To be in Tokyo and not be able to see anything is a real shame."

Hi Patrick, in case you're reading this...Did you hit your head on the diving board?.

You can come and do your stupid sports event; but we don't want you running around town during a Global Pandemic. While you moan about no sightseeing more than a few people are drowning in their own phlegm.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

They conveniently forget to mention that the Egyptian coach already tested positive ulon arrival

13 ( +13 / -0 )

We're not allowed out of our rooms, where you have to stay... - no outdoor air, no human interaction

Are the Japanese athletes subjected to the same treatment? From the get-go, the foreign athletes have been at a big disadvantage. This has been much more mentally challenging for them. No supporters there. Are they going to be confined from now all the way to July?!! How is this disadvantage sanely possible? They're going to have to work twice as hard as local athletes. The sheer lunacy, secrecy and corruptness of the games is so obvious.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Four of the six companies listed on the FINA website as "partners" are Japanese. One is sure this had no bearing on any decision to hold the event taken by FINA.

https://www.fina.org/partners

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Japan could have made honorable decisions, yet it decided to save face. This is getting really embarrassing now.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Australia decided to withdraw from the diving due to worries about rising coronavirus cases in Japan

Let's hope many more countries follow suit; in the face of the JP government's refusal to put the people's health first, it's the only way this ridiculously dangerous and unnecessary sports event is going to get cancelled.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

the announcer scolded divers for gathering too closely

I remember an incident at Naha-tug-of-war. At the end people climb on rope to get small pieces of rope. Announcer was announcing in Japanese "please get of the rope, please..." suddenly he got frustrated and announced in English; "Americans get out!" repeatedly. It was hilarious for non-Americans.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@in_japan ha ha ha that is hilarious

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Sad sad joke......

1 ( +1 / -0 )

And they are standing so close to each other that they are touching!

And that is “supervision” ?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

This is getting more ridiculous by the day.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

None of these tests will be reported...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites