The players of the Australian softball team arrived in Japan on Tuesday as the first Olympic team to set foot in the archipelago for the Tokyo Games, which still caused controversy and suspicion among the pandemic.
The plane, carrying 21 players and 10 crew, landed at Narita Airport near Tokyo just before 7:30 a.m. local time (10:30 p.m. Monday night), an AFP journalist found.
When they arrived at the airport terminal, all smiles, the Australian players rushed to the press before being tested for COVID-19.
The test is negative, the Australian team will be based in the Gunma section of the city of Ota, about 100 kilometers northwest of Tokyo.
Like all Olympic participants (23 July – 8 August), Australian athletes are subject to strict health protocol and are vaccinated and tested before departure.
“We knew we would be subjected to anti-Kovid tests,” but “we’re ready for it,” Jade Wall, one of Aussie Spirits’ players, said before leaving.
“We want to take all precautions to ensure our safety and the safety of others when we arrive and stay at our lodge,” she said.
The final selection of 15 players for the competition will be announced in early July. The team will return to the Olympic Village on July 17 and play their opening match against Japan on July 21, two days before the opening of the Olympics.
Until then, players will “leave the hotel only to go to and from the training ground,” Australian softball boss David Pryles told AFP.
The arrival of players in Japan “We know the games are approaching” Japanese government spokeswoman Katsunobu Kato said on Monday that Australian women softball players “prepare well for the vote and perform at their best”.
Seven weeks before the Olympics, several Japanese units, including Tokyo, are still under emergency rule to prevent fourth-wave coronavirus infections.
The Japanese government and those responsible for the management of the games guarantee that they will take place and in a “safe and secure” manner.
However, the Japanese population is strongly opposed to the organization of the games this summer, according to various polls, seeking their cancellation or a new postponement, a hypothesis that organizers have strongly rejected.