A Chilean taekwondo player and a Dutch skateboarder became the first athletes to be ruled out of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after testing positive for coronavirus on Wednesday.
Fernanda Aguirre, who was due to compete on Sunday in the 57-kilogramme category posted two positive tests after arriving in Tokyo from Uzbekistan.
Meanwhile, 31-year-old Candy Jacobs, who was due to compete in the women’s street event on Monday, is also out of her sport’s Olympic debut after testing positive.
Jacobs is the latest to test positive in the Olympic Village, after South African footballers, Thabiso Monyane and Kamohelo Mahlatsi, and Czech beach volleyball player Ondrej Perusic.
All of them could conceivably still compete once they have completed their 10-day quarantine.
Another Czech, table tennis player Pavel Sirucek, and an unnamed American volleyball player have also tested positive.
And British shooter Amber Hill described herself as “absolutely devastated” as she withdrew from the Olympic Games after testing positive for coronavirus prior to her departure to Tokyo.
Hill is ranked number one in women’s skeet shooting and was deemed a serious contender for a medal in Japan.
The British Olympic Association confirmed Hill’s positive test and added there would be no replacement for the 23-year-old.
“There are no words to describe how I’m feeling right now,” said the asymptomatic Hill.
“After five years of training and preparation, I’m absolutely devastated to say that last night I received a positive Covid-19 test, meaning I’ve had to withdraw from Team GB’s shooting team.”
Jacobs meanwhile told Dutch media: “I’m devastated. We were ready for the Games. I feel fit and now it’s over.”
The Chilean Olympic Committee confirmed that Aguirre had been transferred to a government facility where she would remain until the end of her quarantine period.
Kara Eaker, an alternate on the US gymnastics team, also tested positive and is in quarantine, along with a seventh, unnamed athlete.
Olympic organisers said another eight cases were recorded on Wednesday to bring the total positive tests among those linked to the Games to 75 since July 1.
According to organisers, an official in the athletes’ village tested positive and they had 12 close contacts.
In addition to the cases registered by Olympics organisers, another four positive tests were recorded by Japan’s prefectures.
The regional authorities in Japan are not obligated to report when coronavirus cases are specifically linked to the Games.
Tokyo registered a total of 1,832 new infections on Wednesday, an increase of 680 from seven days previously.
Experts have warned that the numbers could hit 3,000 a day by early August, leading to a “critical” situation.
The Tokyo Olympic Games are due to officially open on Friday.(dpa/NAN)