Sports

World track and field team Japan shaken by the COVID-19 epidemic


Team Japan's Toshikazu Yamanishi celebrates winning gold in the Men's 20K Hiking Final on day one of the Oregon22 World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field on July 15, 2022 in Eugene, Oregon.

FILE – Toshikazu Yamanishi of Team Japan celebrates winning the gold in the Men’s 20km Hiking Finals on the first day of the Oregon22 World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field on July 15, 2022 in Eugene, Oregon. Hannah Peters / Getty Images for World Athletics / AFP

Organizers say seven members of the Japanese team at the World Athletics Championships, including two marathon runners, have tested positive for COVID-19.

A joint statement from World Athletics, the Japan Association of Athletics Federations and local organizers said the outbreak hit athletes and endurance staff at the championships in Oregon.

Two marathon runners, four support staff and the team’s head coach have tested positive.

The identities of the individuals involved were not disclosed.

The statement said seven people have been quarantined and will be quarantined for five days.

“Steps are being taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 both within the Japanese team as well as among all teams present at the Championship,” the statement said.

“All athletes have been fully vaccinated as required to participate in these Championships.”

As a precaution, all remaining members of the Japanese delegation will be asked not to share common spaces with other delegations.

It said members of the Japanese group would “stay as much as possible, independently arranged to prevent the spread of contamination within the Japanese delegation”.

The outbreak comes amid a surge in infections across the US as new variants of COVID-19 continue to persist.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week said 21 of Oregon’s 36 counties are currently considered “high” risk for the virus.

Earlier on Saturday, British athlete Morgan Lake announced she had been forced to withdraw from the World Championships after testing positive for COVID-19.

Lake said she has spent five days in isolation without showing any symptoms but is still testing positive for the virus.

“Having bad times and possibly being exposed to Covid during world champions week,” Lake wrote on Twitter.

“It was absolutely heartbreaking to have to watch from my hotel room and while I was grateful to feel 100% fine, it was even more frustrating to know that I was physically ready to compete but wasn’t. maybe,” she tweeted.

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