Tokyo Olympics 2021 news | Third athlete in village positive for COVID-19 while US gymnast isolated

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Kara Eaker competes on the balance beam during the 2021 US Olympic Trials.

By AP — A third athlete at the Olympic Village in Tokyo has tested positive for COVID-19, with the Czech Republic team reporting the case Monday of a beach volleyball player who could miss his first game.

Czech beach volleyball player Ondřej Perušič could miss his opening game on Monday after a PCR test confirmed his infection. Perušič and his playing partner are due to the begin their Olympic program against a team from Latvia.

Czech team leader Martin Doktor said in a statement they would ask to postpone the game until the infected player is cleared to play.

Perušič, who said he has been vaccinated, is the second member of the Czech delegation to test positive in Tokyo after a team official’s case was reported Saturday.

He is the third athlete who was staying at the village to test positive. Two South African men’s soccer players had their COVID-19 cases announced Sunday.

Also Monday, the personal coach for US gymnast Kara Eaker confirmed that the 18-year-old alternate had tested positive in an Olympic training camp in Japan.

The coach, Al Fong, said the 18-year-old Eaker was vaccinated against the novel coronavirus two months ago. Eaker, the first American athlete to test positive after arriving in Japan, had been rooming with other alternates, with the competitive team rooming with fellow competitors. She has been transferred to a hotel to quarantine.

“Kara is s doing very well with no symptoms,” Karla Grimes, who works at GAGE Center, the gym in the Kansas City, Missouri, suburbs where Eaker trains, said in an email to the AP. “She is incredibly strong and very brave. Although this is a very disappointing outcome for her, she wants everyone to know she is OK.”

US megastar Simone Biles, who is the world champion, and the rest of the regular team have been vaccinated. MyKayla Skinner, who made the team in the “plus-one spot” — meaning she can compete as an individual in Tokyo — following Olympic Trials did battle both COVID-19 and pneumonia last winter.

The South African players and a team video analyst who tested positive one day earlier were moved to the “isolation facility” managed by the Tokyo Olympic organising committee.

Their 21 close contacts around the South Africa team now face extra scrutiny before their first game Thursday against Japan in Tokyo. The monitoring regime includes daily testing, travelling in a dedicated vehicle, training separately from teammates not affected and being confined to their rooms for meals.

“Although you are a close contact, you are able to do the minimum that you need to do so that you can continue your preparation for the Games while you are being monitored,” said Pierre Ducrey, the Olympic Games operations director.

Earlier Monday, before the Czech case was reported, Tokyo Olympic organisers confirmed three new COVID-19 cases, including a media worker arriving in Tokyo and a Games staffer or official in the Chiba prefecture.

Both people, who were not identified, went into a 14-day quarantine, organisers said.

The Tokyo metropolitan authority reported 727 new COVID-19 cases Monday, which was the 30th straight day the tally was higher than the previous week. The count was 502 last Monday.

The games open Friday with no fans in nearly all event venues, including at the opening ceremony, amid a state of emergency in Tokyo, and a slower than hoped for vaccine rollout. Japanese authorities said Monday 21.6 per cent of the nation’s 126 million population is fully vaccinated.

The total of Games-related infections was officially 58 since July 1 before the two new cases were announced. They should be added to the official tally on Tuesday.

These resulted from 22,000 people arriving in Japan since July 1 with 4,000 of those staying in the village, Ducrey said. About 11,000 athletes are scheduled to compete at the Tokyo Olympics.

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