Olympics-Tokyo take a look at occasions proceed with monitor biking, combined zone scrapped By Reuters


© Reuters. Test event of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo for track cyclists in Izu


By Chris Gallagher

IZU, Japan (Reuters) – The Tokyo Olympic testing events continued with track cycling on Sunday. However, scheduled in-person driver interviews have been changed to an online format as a worsening coronavirus situation in Japan is forcing organizers to adjust their programs.

Sunday’s testing event was supposed to be the first since the Summer Games postponed, which had a mixed zone where journalists interview athletes after their events.

Instead, four drivers were selected to appear on an online meeting platform at the end of the day while the barriers for the mixed zone were set up but not used.

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto, herself a former Olympic track cyclist, said organizers need to use the technology amid the pandemic.

“In the test events this time there were clear problems. I think we will be working very carefully on these problems from now on,” she told reporters.

Organizers face growing challenges as Japan grapples with a resurgence of coronavirus infections less than three months before the Games start.

Japan on Friday declared a COVID-19 state of emergency for Tokyo and three other areas, which is slated to run from Sunday to May 11, in an effort to contain the pandemic.

Regardless, the organizers have decided to hold an athletics test event without spectators on May 9th. It would have been the first time with spectators in the stands since testing events resumed this month in an important pre-Games dress rehearsal of the COVID-19 countermeasures.

Japanese cyclists took part in the test event on Sunday, starting in the individual and team sprint, Keirin, team pursuit, Omnium and Madison.

There were no spectators or international drivers present.

The Tokyo Olympics, which have been postponed for a year due to the pandemic, are slated to open on July 23.

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