An Olympic test event to evaluate COVID-19 safety protocols for the upcoming Tokyo Games has won praise from the head of the world governing body of track and field.
Organizers of Wednesday’s test marathon race in the northern Japanese city of Sapporo pleaded with the general public not to attend the event, even deploying staff along the route with signs that read “please refrain from watching the event from here.” The few athletes who took part in the race had to undergo strict testing protocols before and after entering Japan, and were largely restricted to their hotel rooms unless they were training.
World Athletics chief Sebastian Coe said the organizing committee demonstrated “the highest level of capability” to stage the marathon and race walk events in Sapporo. The events were originally supposed to be staged in Tokyo, but were moved to avoid the city’s hot summer temperatures.
The delayed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8. Organizers postponed the games for a year when the novel coronavirus began spreading across the globe.
But with Tokyo and other parts of Japan under a state of emergency to quell a surge of new COVID-19 infections, recent public opinion polls show an overwhelming majority of Japanese believe the Olympics should be postponed again or cancelled.