| 24 April 2024, Wednesday |

Tokyo set for record virus cases, Osaka out of Games

Olympic host city Tokyo is on track to report a record number of coronavirus cases on Tuesday even as athletes continued to compete across the city in the fourth day of the Games, with Naomi Osaka making a surprise exit from the tennis tournament.

Tokyo, which remains under a state of emergency, is set to report more than 3,000 new cases on Tuesday, Japanese media said, in line with warnings by health experts that seasonal factors, increased mobility, and the spread of variants would lead to a rebound in COVID-19 this summer.

In light of the surge in cases, hospitals in the Tokyo area were told to consider pushing back planned surgery and scaling down other treatments, a Japanese broadcaster said on Tuesday.

Osaka, who lit the Olympic cauldron on Friday to open the Games delayed by a year due to the pandemic, looked out of sorts and never settled into a rhythm as she lost 6-1 6-4 in the third round to Czech Marketa Vondrousova.

“I think it’s maybe because I haven’t played in an Olympics before and for the first one to be here was a bit much,” Osaka said.

The Tokyo Games marked Osaka’s first tournament since she pulled out of the French Open in May.

The women’s tennis event has now lost both of its top draw cards after world number one Ash Barty was beaten in the first round.

Meanwhile, Olympic organizers remained on alert to monitor the impact from a tropical storm off Japan’s east coast, while those competitors unaffected by the weather got their competitions off to a flying start.

Flora Duffy, 33, achieved instant national hero status when she won Bermuda’s first Olympic gold medal with victory in the women’s triathlon.

With about 63,000 residents, the British Overseas Territory in the North Atlantic Ocean became the smallest nation to win a Summer Olympic gold medal.

In the pool, Russian Evgeny Rylov broke a U.S. stranglehold on the men’s 100m backstroke, while Tom Dean powered to gold in the men’s 200m freestyle, heading a British one-two with Duncan Scott taking silver.

In Yokohama, just south of Tokyo, the sun emerged just after Canada beat Mexico for the softball bronze, playing through a steady drizzle and strong gusts of wind. Technicians had removed the two dozen outdoor television monitors used to watch replays, and ushers handed out ponchos to media and officials in the spectator-less stadium.


At the archery venue, early rounds of the individual events were delayed by some two and a half hours due to the storm.

If the archers were left frustrated, though, the surfers were embracing the wet and windy conditions.

“Today is one of those days when it’s man against ocean, more so than competing against your competitor, but that’s what makes it fun,” Japanese surfer Kanoa Igarashi told reporters after scoring a spectacular early barrel wave en route to a quarter-final victory over American Kolohe Andino.

Japan’s hot, wet and unstable summer weather patterns have been a persistent concern for the Games.

Tokyo was forecast to receive up 31.5mm (1.2 inches) of rain over 24 hours from tropical storm Nepartak, now forecast to make landfall in the north early on Wednesday, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

  • Reuters