Team GB athletes will produce a record low attendance for the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics, with only THIRTY choosing to participate due to Covid fears… while a Chilean taekwondo player and a Dutch skateboarder see their matches end after they have contracted a virus
Team GB’s delegation to the opening ceremony will only number about 30 – with concerned athletes choosing not to attend the showpiece due to concerns over Covid-19.
The development comes as Chilean taekwondo player Fernanda Aguirre and Dutch skateboarder Candy Jacobs were banned from the Games after testing positive for Covid-19.
A record low turnout is behind the union flag Friday night, at a show that will be broadcast to millions of people around the world. Officials had hoped about 50 athletes would participate, which would still represent a fraction of the usual 200 in non-pandemic times.
But Sports post understands that the fear of being traced and contracting the virus – which could put an end to competition – has led to a mass pullout.
Earlier this week, 10 Team GB members were forced to self-isolate after a passenger on their flight tested positive for the virus. The athletes within that group are allowed to train individually and are ready to compete.
Only about 30 athletes from Team GB will attend the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics
So far, none of the 376 Team GB athletes have tested positive — and it looks like the group wants to keep it that way. Traditionally, the prestige and experience of the opening ceremony was a strong draw. But this year, that is simply not the case, according to the extracts.
Meanwhile, Chef de Mission Mark England called on the British public to embrace the Games. “My message is that Team GB has almost 800 athletes and support staff in the country, athletes are fit, well and healthy, they are moving from a fantastic preparation camp to the Olympic environment,” he said.
“We are a few days away from the opening ceremony and not one of those athletes, not one of the support staff, not one of the staff involved with Team GB has tested positive.
The Games have already been hit by the coronavirus, and two athletes have now confirmed they are missing out
“So there has to be tremendous confidence in our Covid mitigation measures, the testing regime that we adhere to, not only to support our Team GB, but also the Japanese people and volunteers.
“We want everyone to wear their seat belts at home. It won’t be an easy ride, but it will be exciting and there will be some memories that I’m sure will last a long time.”
England added that no medal target had been set but added that he was confident of a successful fortnight and a lift in a time of pandemic.
“Many people at home have lost their lives, many people have had their livelihoods changed,” he said.
“We maturely represent the hopes and aspirations of millions upon millions of people at home. I don’t know what the outcome of the medal will be… but what I would say is that this is a top team that we are looking at.
So far, none of the 376 Team GB athletes have tested positive since arriving in Japan
“This is a top team that is going to enter the playing field. You come across every athlete, every team, every sport, every discipline, and you know, we can medal in all those things. It’s very, very competitive.’
Meanwhile, a homecoming event for the athletes of Team GB will be held at Wembley Arena on August 15.
A raffle will be in attendance, with acts such as Rag’n Bone Man, Bastille, Griff and Laura Mvula providing entertainment.
Olympic rules put in place to protect against Covid mean athletes must leave Japan within 48 hours of their event — and so many would miss the closing ceremony.