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British distance runners will train for the Tokyo Olympics at a golf course after authorities banned athletes from using public running trails, The Times has reported.
According to The Times, Team GB runners had been hoping to use public running trails around their holding camp in Yokohama, Japan’s second most populous city and a major commercial hub. But Japanese authorities, concerned about exposing the public to potential Covid-19 from Olympic visitors, reportedly told athletes that the public running routes were off limits. British runners will use the Yokohama Country Club’s golf course instead, at times when members aren’t playing.
With Covid-19 cases on the rise in parts of Japan, authorities are set to extend the quasi-state of emergency restrictions in Tokyo and three nearby prefectures ahead of the Games beginning on July 23, Nikkei Asia reported this week.
Organisers initially set a cap of 10,000 domestic spectators – or up to 50% of capacity – at each venue, with a ban on overseas spectators. However this was based on the increasingly unlikely prospect of restrictions being lifted by July 11. If the government does choose to extend restrictions on Thursday, the Tokyo 2020 committee will reportedly hold a meeting with Olympics organisers to discuss changing these plans.
Last month British Olympic Association officials wrote to Seiko Hashimoto, President of the Tokyo committee, seeking to reassure nervous Japanese authorities of Team GB’s commitment to keeping the Japanese public safe.
He wrote: ‘Everyone will undergo a PCR test 14 days prior to travel and regular lateral flow tests thereafter, as we also shield ourselves for the final build-up to the Games. That will mean avoiding close contacts, or going to crowded or indoor spaces.’
He added: ‘We’ll then take two PCR tests within 96 hours of travel, before a final test on the day of departure. We’re doing all we can, and more than we need to, to ensure our delegation is Covid free upon arrival in Japan.’
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